Gout can be a painful condition which typically affects men more than women. Gout is a type of arthritis. It is a condition caused by the build up of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is one of the breakdown products of the body’s metabolism. High levels of uric acid in the blood can lead to crystals of uric acid being laid down in your joints. The crystals cause inflammation of your joints which leads to joint pain. Gout can affect other parts of the body such as the hands but it is most common in the feet.
Symptoms Of Gout
In an acute attack of Gout, you can experience extreme swelling and pain in the foot, mostly localised around the big toe joint. The foot will be very swollen and red with skin peeling away from around the joint.
Milder cases of gout will present as pain in the first joint, often worse after eating certain foods or after starting certain medication.
Treatment of Gout
The initial treatment for gout is a course of anti-inflammatory tablets for a period of 7 days in order to reduce the swelling in the area. Blood tests are also necessary and when the swelling has been controlled a tablet can be prescribed to control the uric acid levels in the blood and prevent future attacks.
Your first appointment with our dietitian will involve an initial dietary assessment which will explore your eating patterns, an assessment of your nutritional intake and dietary habits, exercise and lifestyle habits, medical history, medications and symptom history. Treatment will focus on reducing foods rich in purines and fat in order to control symptoms and maintain a healthy weight.
Acute attacks of gout are usually treated by anti inflammatory drugs (i.e. painkillers) which reduce the pain. However these do not reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood so dietary intervention is required to lower uric acid levels. People who are overweight are more likely to have higher uric acid levels in their blood. It’s important to reduce the intake of high energy foods such as fats and sugars which should be done gradually as strict dieting can cause an increase in uric acid levels and bring on an attack of gout. Our dietitians can identify other foods in your diet that are linked to attacks.
Acute Gout can be an extremely painful condition and early detection and referral for blood tests is very important. We can determine whether the condition is likely to be gout based on the history and can then treat accordingly. It is important to treat early as Gout can lead to arthritic change in the joint.