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Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

The agonizing pain of a gout attack is hard to appreciate unless you've experienced it. The rheumatologists at Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, have extensive expertise in treating gout so you don't experience such severe pain or suffer attacks as frequently. To find out how the rheumatology experts at Arthritis Northwest PLLC can help relieve your gout symptoms, call to schedule a consultation today and book an appointment. Or, visit us online.

Gout Q & A

What is gout?

Gout is a variety of arthritis that develops when urate (uric acid) crystals collect in your joints. It can potentially affect your feet, ankles, knees, elbows, and other joints, but most commonly appears in the big toes.

Urate crystals come from purines, substances present in some foods. If you eat anything with purines in it, your digestive system breaks them down and produces uric acid. Excess uric acid goes through your kidneys, which filter it out, and then you pass it in your urine. 

The problem arises if you're producing large quantities of uric acid or you're not flushing it away in your urine. If this happens, the uric acid can build up in your blood, eventually settling in one or more joints, where it crystallizes.

A similar condition is pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease or CPPD). In this case, rather than uric acid crystallizing in your joints, the problem is calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals.

Why would I suffer from gout?

Some people inherit a tendency to get gout, so if your family members have it, you're more at risk. You're also more likely to get gout if your diet is high in purines. Foods like red meat, organ meats, and shellfish are especially high in purines.

Alcoholic drinks, particularly beer, and drinks that contain fructose (the sugar in fruit) also raise your uric acid levels.

Conditions that affect your ability to process uric acid, including diabetes, kidney disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure), encourage the development of urate crystals in your joints. Certain medications, such as aspirin, diuretics (water pills), and niacin, are also risk factors.

What symptoms does gout cause?

Unlike many types of arthritis that cause constant pain, gout attacks occur suddenly, frequently when you're asleep. 

During a gout attack, the affected joint becomes red, swollen, and extremely painful. The intensity of the initial pain usually eases off after a few hours or sometimes days, but the joint remains sore for several weeks.

Gout attacks tend to occur more often, and the pain becomes more severe, as urate crystals embed themselves in your joints. Eventually, urate crystals can cause irreversible joint damage.

What treatments can help with gout?

Arthritis Northwest PLLC offers several treatments that can ease your gout symptoms. These include:

  • Colchicine anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid medications like prednisone
  • Febuxostat or allopurinol to block uric acid production
  • Probenecid to improve uric acid removal

If you have severe gout, you might benefit from an infusion of pegloticase at Arthritis Northwest PLLC's IV therapy suite.

Don't live in fear of the next attack of gout. Call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today to schedule a consultation and to book an appointment. Or, visit us online.