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What Is Gout and What Can I Do About It?

What Is Gout and What Can I Do About It?

Poor Henry VIII. Even though he was powerful, wealthy, and enjoyed a reign of over 45 years, he still couldn’t avoid gout, a painful type of inflammatory arthritis that emerges cruelly, often in the middle of the night. Amazingly, now in the 21st century, there are nine million gout sufferers

The big toe joint is the most common spot to be impacted, but it can also attack your fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles

As a board-certified doctor of internal medicine, Dr. Gurprit Sekhon has valuable experience diagnosing and treating gout, so you can return to normal life — free from pain. The Nu Wave Medical Center team is dedicated to treating a wide range of conditions, and they do so with a caring touch, always wanting to provide education and a listening ear. 

Why does gout happen?

This is generally the first question you ask yourself when experiencing an attack, no doubt! Your body routinely breaks down purines, which are substances that your body produces, but they’re also found in high concentrations in certain foods like red meat, organ meat, certain kinds of seafood, alcohol, and drinks with lots of fructose (fruit sugar). 

When you eat a purine-rich diet, purine breakdown can cause high levels of uric acid to develop in your blood. These high uric acid levels in turn put you at risk for forming urate crystals in your blood, which cause gout.

In addition to dietary considerations, other factors that put you at higher risk for developing gout include taking certain medications, being diagnosed with some chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, living with obesity, and even having surgery recently or receiving a vaccination. 

Some people have a family history of gout, which ups your risk of becoming a sufferer, as does being male — though women are affected more in their postmenopausal years.  

I’ve been diagnosed with gout — now what?

Fortunately, you have more treatment options now than King Henry VIII did back in the 16th century. A reassuring fact is that Dr. Sekhon is committed to developing history with her patients and treating them over the long term, for all health problems. 

If you’re diagnosed with gout, however, Dr. Sekhon approaches treatment from two vantage points, with dual goals in mind: addressing the surplus of uric acid being produced in your body and relieving the hard-to-endure pain and swelling of gout attacks. 

She takes the severity of your gout into consideration as she creates your treatment plan, and pays close attention to how often your life is upended by gout attacks. The goal with treatment is to effectively manage and prevent attacks — known as flares.

Dr. Sekhon may prescribe medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include well-known over-the-counter pain reliever options like ibuprofen, as well as prescription medications. She may also prescribe colchicine, which relieves gout discomfort, or corticosteroids like prednisone, which can be delivered orally or via injection. 

If you suffer frequent gout attacks or extremely severe symptoms, Dr. Sekhon may prescribe medications that limit the production of uric acid in your body or ones that cause your kidneys to clear uric acid from your body more efficiently. 

In addition to medications, there are things you can do to lower your risk for a gout attack:

Between analyzing your lifestyle habits and history of pain and flares, Dr. Sekhon can learn a lot about how best to treat your gout, and partner with you to treat it. She also enlists your help in doing all you can to reduce your symptoms. 

If your quality of life has been affected by gout, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Sekhon by calling our office or scheduling one online through our website

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