Gout Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Gout

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints. It often affects the joint at the base of the big toe but can occur in any joint. Gout is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue, causing pain and inflammation. At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG), we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of gout to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for our patients.

Symptoms of Gout

  • Intense Joint Pain: Usually in the big toe but can also occur in the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The pain is most severe within the first 4 to 12 hours after it begins.
  • Lingering Discomfort: After the most severe pain subsides, joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks.
  • Inflammation and Redness: The affected joint or joints become swollen, tender, warm, and red.
  • Limited Range of Motion: As gout progresses, patients may experience reduced joint mobility.

Diagnosis of Gout

  • Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to check for joint swelling, redness, and tenderness.
  • Blood Tests:
    • Uric Acid Levels: Elevated levels can indicate gout, but not everyone with high uric acid develops gout.
    • Complete Blood Count (CBC): To check for signs of infection or other conditions.
  • Joint Fluid Test: Removing fluid from the affected joint to look for urate crystals under a microscope.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • X-rays: To detect joint damage.
    • Ultrasound: To identify urate crystals in joints and tophi.
    • Dual-Energy CT Scan: Highly sensitive for detecting urate crystals in joints.

Treatment Options for Gout

  • Medications:
    • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Colchicine: Reduces gout pain and inflammation.
    • Corticosteroids: Fast-acting anti-inflammatory drugs for severe attacks.
    • Urate-Lowering Therapies (ULTs): Medications such as allopurinol and febuxostat to reduce uric acid levels.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Diet: Avoiding foods high in purines such as red meat, organ meats, and certain seafood. Limiting alcohol and sugary drinks.
    • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids to help flush uric acid from the body.
    • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the risk of gout attacks.
    • Exercise: Regular physical activity to promote overall health.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to maintain joint function and reduce stiffness.
    • Infusion Therapy: Administered in our in-house infusion suite for medications requiring intravenous delivery.
  • Preventive Measures:
    • Regular Monitoring: Keeping track of uric acid levels and managing medications as prescribed.
    • Education: Learning about gout triggers and how to avoid them.

Living with Gout

  • Managing Pain and Inflammation: Using medications and lifestyle changes to control symptoms.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Adopting a gout-friendly diet to reduce uric acid levels.
  • Staying Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water to help prevent uric acid crystal formation.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Medication Adherence: Taking prescribed medications as directed to manage symptoms and prevent attacks.

Frequently Asked Questions | Gout

What causes gout?
Gout is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, which can form crystals in the joints and cause inflammation.

How is gout diagnosed?
Gout is diagnosed through a combination of physical examinations, blood tests for uric acid levels, joint fluid tests, and imaging studies.

Can lifestyle changes help manage gout symptoms?
Yes, dietary changes, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular exercise can help manage gout symptoms.

What foods should I avoid if I have gout?
Avoid foods high in purines such as red meat, organ meats, and certain seafood. Limit alcohol and sugary drinks.

Is gout hereditary?
There is a genetic component to gout, but lifestyle factors also play a significant role.

What is the role of urate-lowering therapies in treating gout?
Urate-lowering therapies help reduce uric acid levels in the blood, preventing gout attacks and reducing the risk of complications.

How can I manage a gout flare-up?
Managing a flare-up involves taking medications as prescribed, applying ice to the affected joint, resting, and avoiding foods that trigger gout.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive gout care, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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