Back to Index

Back to Home Page


Gout: A Type of Arthritis

My patients are always surprised to learn that gout is a form of arthritis. This type of arthritis results from a build-up of body substances called uric acid. High levels of uric acid may not only affect the joints but other organs in the body, including the kidneys. When uric acid levels become very high, they become deposited in the joints as crystals. These crystals produce the pain of a gout attack.
Gout, commonly thought of as an aristocrat’s disease, can affect anyone. Although more common in men than women, an estimated one million Americans suffer from this disorder. Attacks often begin at night, and may only affect one joint, such as the big toe. The involved joint usually turns red, becomes hot, swollen, and is very painful. A common error is to take aspirin for the pain. Aspirin in small doses may actually make a gout attack worse.

A correct diagnosis is very important. Rheumatologists will usually remove fluid from the joint and examine it for gout crystals. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment can be started.
Treatment for gout is very simple and effective. Unfortunately, many people with gout suffer unnecessary and painful attacks. Medications can stop an attack within hours, and will often prevent future attacks.

 

Gout Crystals (yellow) under a Polarized Microscope

 


Back to Index

Back to Home Page


All medications have potential side effects, risks and interactions with other medications as well as over the counter drugs. Not all medications are right for all patients. You should always check with your physician or health care provider prior to the use of any medication.