An estimated 8 million Americans have gout, and the number of cases is increasing. This form of arthritis can cause you to miss work and lose productivity at home and on the job. Men and women in and around Walterboro, South Carolina can receive top-notch treatment for gout to prevent long-term impairment of function. If gout is interfering with your quality of life, call or make an appointment online today with one of the doctors at Carolina Medical Center.
Gout is a common and painful form of arthritis that results from a buildup of uric acid in your body. Uric acid usually dissolves in your blood before passing through your kidneys and out of your body in your urine. When uric acid builds up, crystals form in your body’s joints, fluids, and tissues.
Your body reacts to the buildup of uric acid crystals the same way it responds to foreign organisms and bacteria. Infection-fighting cells, including white blood cells, attack the buildup, often leading to inflammation.
The symptoms associated with gout flare-ups include:
Gout tends to affect one joint at a time and usually starts in your big toe. This condition can also affect your other toe joints, your ankles, and knees.
At Carolina Medical Center, your doctor reviews your medical records and symptoms and may perform one or more of the following tests:
Fluid is removed from one of your affected joints and examined under a microscope for the presence of uric acid.
A blood test measures the levels of uric acid and creatinine.
X-rays of your joints help rule out other causes of joint inflammation.
Musculoskeletal ultrasounds detect urate crystals in your joints.
The doctors at Carolina Medical Center offer two approaches to treat your gout pain:
When you have a gout attack, Drs. Michael Blubaugh and Sanjay Kumar recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen. For persistent discomfort, they may prescribe steroids or the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
Changes to your diet and lifestyle -- like losing weight, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing consumption of purine-rich foods like red meat -- are common first steps. Staying physically active also helps prevent a gout attack.
If you take a diuretic, the doctors may discontinue or change your prescription to reduce gout attacks. If you suffer from chronic gout, drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase help reduce the uric acid levels in your blood.
If you experience intense joint pain, particularly in the middle of the night, call or make an appointment online today with one of the doctors at Carolina Medical Center.