Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Treatment in Montreal on the day of your gout attack
What is gout? Why is it so painful?
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by an excess of uric acid in the joints. Uric acid is a substance that builds up when your body metabolizes a substance called purine. Uric acid usually dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys in your urine. In people with gout, uric acid builds up and forms sharp crystals that can build up in the joints. This causes pain and swelling in the affected joints (often in the big toe joint and on the top of the foot). The pain can be very intense and can come on suddenly and for no apparent reason. The affected joint is red, warm to the touch and very painful. It will be more painful to the touch. Gout can affect other joints in your body, but is especially common in the foot area.
What should I do if I have a gout attack?
Call us immediately. Tell our receptionist that you are having a gout attack and we will see you as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should rest and not walk as much as possible. Putting a warm pillow or an ice pack on the joint can help relieve the pain. Avoid putting strain on the foot, as even the slightest weight can be painful. Inflammation-reducing medications that you can take without a prescription, such as aspirin or ibuprofen can also help.
When you arrive at the clinic, we will examine your foot to determine if your problem is caused by gout or a condition (such as an infection). We may need to take a blood sample to check for infection and also to check the level of uric acid in the blood. Once we are sure that the problem is indeed gout, we will prescribe medications that will usually relieve the pain fairly quickly. The problem will be completely resolved within a few days. We will also provide treatment to limit the pain while you wait for the medication to take effect.
Who can suffer from gout?
Gout is more common in people who are overweight, drink alcohol or have high cholesterol levels. Men are affected by gout more often than women, although women are more likely to develop gout after the menopause. In addition, some people who eat foods that contain a lot of purines are prone to gout attacks. These foods include beer, red wine, red meat, shellfish, salmon, sardines, liver and herring.
Some medications can also make you more susceptible to gout. These include:
- some diuretics
- Niacin (a B-complex vitamin)
- aspirin (taken in low doses)
- Cyclosporine (brand names: Sandimmune, Neoral, SangCya)
- certain anti-cancer drugs
What should I do if I don’t receive treatment?
If you do not receive treatment, a gout attack can last for days or even weeks. If you continue to have attacks, several joints will be affected and the attacks will last longer.
If you have gout attacks for many years, it may cause a swelling of soft tissue (a deposit of uric acid crystals) called tophus in your joints. Tophus usually forms on your toes, fingers, hands and elbows. You may also have kidney disease or kidney stones. Over time, the bone around a joint can be destroyed by gout.
What can I do to avoid gout attacks?
Once your pain is taken care of, you will probably be referred to your primary care physician. He or she may prescribe medication to prevent future gout attacks. These medications can flush uric acid out of your joints, reduce swelling and prevent uric acid build-up in the future.
If you are overweight, lose weight. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, it is advisable to go for treatment and follow a low-salt, low-fat diet. Avoid alcohol and foods that are rich in purines. Drink plenty of water, as this can help empty uric acid from your body.
Call our clinic in Montreal immediately if you think you might be having a gout attack. Notify our receptionist of the problem. We treat patients with gout as soon as possible so that we can help them eliminate the pain.2021