We know: All About Gout and Uric Acid
What is gout?
Gout is one of the most painful rheumatic diseases. It results from deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in connective tissue, in the joint space between two bones, or in both. These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Gout accounts for approximately 5 percent of all cases of arthritis.
What is uric acid?
Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many foods. Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passed through the kidneys into the urine, where it is eliminated. If the body increases its production of uric acid or if the kidneys do not eliminate enough uric acid from the body, levels of it build up in the blood.
The excess crystals build up in the joint spaces, causing inflammation. Deposits of uric acid can appear as lumps under the skin around the joints and at the rim of the ear. In addition, uric acid crystals can collect in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
What are the common symptoms of gout?
For many people, gout initially affects the joints in the big toe. Sometime during the course of the disease, gout will affect the big toe in about 75 percent of patients. It also can affect the instep, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
What are the stages of gout as it progresses?
Who is likely to develop gout?
Gout occurs in approximately 840 out of every 100,000 people. It is rare in children and young adults. Adult men, particularly those between the ages of 40 and 50, are more likely to develop gout than women, who rarely develop the disorder before menopause. People who have had an organ transplant are more susceptible to gout.
How is gout treated?
Gout can be treated with one or a combination of therapies. Successful treatment can reduce both the discomfort caused by the symptoms of gout and long-term damage of the affected joints.
The most common treatments for an acute attack of gout are high doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken orally (by mouth) or corticosteroids, which are taken orally or injected into the affected joint.
The NSAIDs most commonly prescribed for gout are indomethacin (Indocin*) and naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn), which are taken orally every day. Corticosteroids are strong anti-inflammatory hormones. The most commonly prescribed corticosteroid is prednisone.