Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops when uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines found in cells and food. The increase in uric acid produces crystals in the joints that lead to more pain. Increased uric acid levels is not the only cause of gout. Genetics, obesity, medications used to treat cancer, diuretics, and chronic kidney disease can also trigger a flare-up. It can be episodic or chronic. It can be diagnosed during a physical assessment and having fluid removed from the inflamed joint and examined under a microscope for urate crystals.
The disease is more common in men than women. If left untreated, it will progressively get worse and become debilitating. This is known as chronic tophaceous gout. When patients have chronic gout, they suffer from chronic arthritis, kidney damage, and develop tophi (big lumps of urate crystals) that form in the joints of the fingers, wrists, toes, ankles, and elbows. Patients who have chronic gout will require surgery to remove the crystals that have developed tophi.
Gout is treatable. NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and colchicine are administered to help reduce inflammation. Allopurinol may be prescribed to reduce the production of uric acid and help protect the kidneys. The best way to manage gout is to monitor diet and control weight. If possible, try to eliminate foods that are high in purines in order to reduce the changes of uric level acids in the blood so that they do not get too high. Examples of food high in purines are anchovies, asparagus, beef kidneys, game meats, liver, seafood, mushrooms, sweet breads, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/
Chatuphot. (2019). Fingers of patients.