Gout is a disorder in which deposits of uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints because of high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia). The accumulations of crystals cause flare-ups (attacks) of painful inflammation in and around joints.
- Accumulations of uric acid crystals can intermittently cause severe joint or tissue pain and inflammation.
- Doctors remove fluid from the joint and check it for uric acid crystals.
- Drugs are given to relieve inflammation and pain, prevent further flare-ups, and sometimes decrease blood levels of uric acid to decrease deposits of urate crystals in the joints.
Gout is more common among men than women. Usually, gout develops during middle age in men and after menopause in women. Gout is rare in younger people but is often more severe in people who develop the disorder before age 30.
Gout, caused by high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia), often runs in families.
Blood levels of uric acid tend to be high in people with metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a large waist (due to excess abdominal fat), high blood pressure, resistance to the effects of insulin (called insulin resistance) or high blood sugar levels, and abnormal levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood.
Coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome are common among people with gout.
- Drugs to relieve pain and swelling resulting from inflammation
- Rest, immobilization of a painful joint with a splint, and ice
- Dietary changes and weight loss to lower the uric acid levels and help prevent further flare-ups
- Drugs to prevent flare-ups by preventing inflammation caused by crystals
- Drugs to lower uric acid levels and dissolve the crystals
Gout treatment has three goals:
- Relieving the acute flare-up of inflammation
- Preventing further flare-ups
- Preventing further deposition of uric acid in the tissues by lowering
- blood levels of uric acid