Sky Lakes Medical Center | Live Smart | Late Spring 2021

6 LIVE smart | Late Spring 2021 What to know about gout Ouch! Often, that’s the sound of a bout with gout—a painful condition that can make your joints, particularly your big toe, feel miserable. What exactly is gout? And what can you do to feel better if you develop it? To find out, check out these facts about gout. It’s a form of arthritis. Some types of arthritis result from joint wear and tear. But in the case of gout, too much of a natural substance called uric acid builds up in the blood. Uric acid can then form crystals in the joints, leading to the pain of gout. While gout can develop in any joint, it most often affects a big toe or other foot joint. It causes painful episodes known as flare-ups. These episodes tend to come and go, often lasting a week or two. In addition to causing intense pain, a gout flare-up may make the joint swollen, red, warm and stiff. It strikes more men than women, especially in midlife. The tendency to develop gout can run in families too. While anyone can get gout, eating a diet high in substances called purines—such as shellfish, gravies, red meats and organ meats—may raise the risk, as can drinking alcohol and sugary beverages. Other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and kidney disease. Taking certain drugs, such as immunosuppressants and diuretics, is linked to gout too. Medications and lifestyle changes can help. For instance, medications may be used to treat the underlying cause of gout (high uric acid levels). Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can ease pain and swelling during a flare-up. Lifestyle changes can also help people manage gout. These may include getting to a healthy weight and cutting back on foods and drinks that trigger gout, such as alcohol, sugary sodas and certain purine-rich foods. Sources: American College of Rheumatology; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases GET BACK ON YOUR FEET Treating gout at the first sign of symptoms can relieve pain. Talk to your provider or call 541-837-1856 for an appointment with the Sky Lakes Rheumatology Clinic.