In addition to being treated with medication for symptoms of an acute flare, should a person with gout be put on long-term uric acid-lowering medication to reduce future flares? And is it safe to keep raising the dose of the medication until uric acid drops below a specified target? Rheumatologists and other physicians are currently grappling with those questions, and a new study may help lead to some answers.
What Is Gout?
Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States, affecting more than 8 million adults. It develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. Needle-shaped crystals form in and around joints – often beginning in the base of the big toe – causing episodes of severe pain, heat and swelling.
Continue reading Increasing Allopurinol Dose May Better Control Gout
An international panel of leading gout experts has published new recommendations advising that doctors use a treat-to-target approach for managing gout, a painful form of arthritis that affects more than 8 million adults in the United States. Central to the recommendations is using medication to reduce and keep blood uric acid levels below 6 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) – and even lower in people with severe gout. The recommendations were published online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in September.
Continue reading Panel Recommends Aggressive Treat-to-Target Approach to Gout
It may come as a surprise that gout is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis among adults in the United States.1 It’s also very painful, but gout can be a management disease – meaning there are several things people with gout can do to reduce flares, or eliminate flares all together.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Launches Wipe Out Gout – Awareness Campaign
A diet that’s best known for promoting heart health may also significantly reduce blood levels of uric acid – a key factor in the development of gout, according to a new study published online recently in Arthritis & Rheumatology. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, was developed nearly 20 years ago by a government-funded research collaborative to reduce high blood pressure. In the new study, researchers found that in some cases, DASH may also lower uric acid levels almost as well as medications do.
Continue reading Heart-healthy DASH Diet May Also Help Prevent Gout
At times, life can be difficult for those living with gout, but it can be just as hard on spouses. When you live in close quarters with a significant other, you undoubtedly feel the pain they deal with on a daily basis. Mira knows this firsthand.
Early on in their marriage, Mira’s husband returned from a business trip with a painful toe and they couldn’t figure out the cause. “For someone who was athletic and never had any health problems, it was inexplicable,” says Mira. “That first attack lasted about a week, and we were young, so he didn’t go see a doctor.”
Continue reading “Honey, I Have Gout”: A Spouse Reflects on Her Worries
Did you know that Gout Awareness Day is held on May 22? In support of Gout Awareness Day today, we’ve launched a new tool to help those that suffer from the disease. Of the nearly 8.3 million adults living with gout, more than half experience multiple gout attacks each year. But having fewer or no gout attacks is possible. The Arthritis Foundation’s Let’s Speak Gout patient tool is now available to empower you to better manage your disease.
Continue reading Let’s Speak Gout: Addressing A Treatable, Yet Often Untreated Condition
As a former football player and wrestler who’d had three knee operations, Scott thought he knew pain. Then he had his first gout attack.
While the pain was new to him, Scott was familiar with gout because his dad had been living with it for 20 years. Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. The acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, , (tenderness and redness are not severe – focus on pain, warmth and swelling), warmth and swelling in the joints. For many people, including Scott, the first symptom of gout is excruciating pain and swelling in the big toe. Gout may also appear in another lower-body joint, such as the ankle or knee.
“Basically I described what happened, the doctor looked at my foot, told me I had gout and prescribed some pain medicine,” Scott says. “The pain medicine didn’t do much though. I stopped taking it after a few days and tried to manage around the pain.”
Continue reading Former Football Player Tackles Gout
Gout is one of the oldest known human diseases – dating back to 2600 BC – but a new study shows it’s a disease that patients still don’t understand very well. The study, published online in January 2016 in Arthritis Care & Research, found that just 14% of patients with this painful type of inflammatory arthritis actually knew what their uric acid level should be.
“It is an old disease for which there are really effective treatments and despite that, understanding of treatment goals is suboptimal. It is somewhat surprising,” said study author Ted Mikuls, MD, the Umbach Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Ohama. “Patients have pretty good knowledge of what causes gout and what drugs are used for, so the lack of knowledge about a treatment goal stood out.”
Continue reading Get Better Control of Your Gout
Most of us know how sugar affects our waistline. Too much of the sweet stuff contributes to obesity, and with it, diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Overdoing it on one type of sugar in particular—the high fructose corn syrup found in sodas and processed foods—can also set off painful gout. Considering that the average American eats 22 to 30 teaspoons of sugar daily, gout is yet another health risk worth noting.
Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruit and honey. High fructose corn syrup is a man-made sweetener produced from corn. It’s composed of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Why is this type of sugar harder on your joints than other forms, like glucose? “Fructose is metabolized differently from glucose,” explains Peter Simkin, MD, emeritus professor of medicine in the University of Washington School of Medicine division of Rheumatology.
As the body breaks down fructose, chemical compounds called purines are released. The breakdown of purines produces uric acid—the substance that forms painful crystals in the joints and causes gout. Within minutes after you drink high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda, your uric acid levels rise. Continue reading Fructose and Gout: What’s the Link?
Beer and hard liquor have long been known to increase the risk of gout, the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, but according to a 2014 study in The American Journal of Medicine, wine also can contribute to recurrent gout attacks.
Gout occurs when excess uric acid builds up around joints – often in the big toe, but also in the feet, ankles, knees, wrists and elbows – leading to episodes of intense pain, redness and swelling. It affects more than 8 million adults in the United States, and the numbers are rising sharply, due mainly to obesity and other lifestyle factors.
Continue reading Wine Implicated in Gout Flares