Gout - Diagnosis, Treatment and Managing Symptoms

 

Gout is a type of painful arthritis in the joints. This video shows the cause of gout and some of its treatments.

The doctors of Rheumatology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, treat conditions and diseases of the joints, muscles and ligaments. Our rheumatologists deliver comprehensive care and treatment for gout, a common but complex form of arthritis. 

About the Condition

Gout is a form of arthritis that includes sudden and severe attacks of pain in the joints. Gout can affect the joints of the arms and the legs, but is most commonly found in the joints of the big toe.  

Gout is caused when the body has an overabundance of uric acid. Uric acid, a natural chemical in the body, comes from the breakdown of genetic material in the cells. It may also come from certain foods, such as red meat or anchovies.

Uric acid is typically processed by the kidneys and exits the body in the urine. If the body produces too much uric acid, or if the kidneys do not excrete enough uric acid, the acid develops into urate crystals within the joint. These sharp crystals within the joint can lead to pain and inflammation.

Gout is typically found in men more than women, though it is also common in women after menopause. Gout is also common in people who are overweight or who drink alcohol.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

The symptoms of gout typically occur suddenly and without notice. The frequency and length of attacks can vary from patient to patient. Symptoms of gout include the following:

  • Intense joint pain
  • Lingering, dull pain
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Redness of the skin

Gout may be diagnosed with a joint fluid test, in which your doctor uses a needle to remove fluid from the affected joint and examines it under a microscope. A blood test may also be helpful in determining the amount of uric acid in your blood.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

There is no cure for gout, but it can be treated and controlled. Treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation and pain through medication, while also reducing chances of further attacks. Mercy’s rheumatologists will help determine your treatment plan based on several factors, including your age, current medications, overall health, medical condition and severity of attacks.

Meet Our Doctors: Rheumatology
Rheumatology at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
Lynn Ludmer, M.D.

Dr. Lynn Ludmer diagnoses and treats a variety of diseases associated with arthritis and muscle disease, including multiple types of inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune connective tissue disorders.

See all Rheumatologists ›