What is gout?
Gout is a potentially disabling form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joints. The crystals can also accumulate in other body organs, causing organ dysfunction. The uric acid deposits will cause inflammation and pain in the accumulation area. Family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney failure can lead to elevated blood levels of uric acid and gout disease. If you have gout attacks or any other problems related to rheumatology in St. Thomas, and St. Croix, visit your physicians, Dr. Jeffrey Chase and Dr. Ahmet Sayan of Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists for a consultation.
What are the symptoms of the disease?
The most common symptom of gout is severe frequent episodes of pain and swelling in one joint. The most commonly affected joint is the one that is in your big toe. The painful episodes may also involve warmth sensations and redness at the site of inflammation.
What are the triggers of gout?
Some kinds of food and medicines can increase the risk of having a gout attack. Excessive alcohol intake and excessive consumption of red meat, organ meat, and shellfish are considered gout triggers. A crash diet in which the patients depend on protein-rich meals will increase the risk of having gout. Also, the uric acid lowering medications may induce flares at the beginning of the treatment. If you are taking these medicines and the symptoms don't improve with time, consult your physician. The triggers may differ from one patient to another, so you must understand your attack's triggers to avoid them as much as possible.
What are the treatment options?
The treatment of gout is divided into two groups, one for relieving the pain and minimizing the symptoms and the other for lowering uric acid levels. For acute pain, your physician will recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, or corticosteroids as soon as the attack begins.
Your rheumatologist in St. Thomas, and St. Croix, will prescribe uric acid-lowering medications for patients who suffered from several gout attacks in the same year, patients with joint damage, and patients who are suffering from kidney disease or kidney stones.
Besides the medications, lifestyle and diet modifications are helpful. Daily exercise, losing weight, limiting red meat consumption, and decreasing alcohol intake can help avoid the attacks.
If you are looking for relief from your rheumatological problems in St. Thomas, and St. Croix, visit Dr. Chase and Dr. Sayan of Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists. Call us at (340) 714-2845 for the St. Thomas, office, and at (340) 692-5000 for the St. Croix, office.