Gout is an arthritis that presents with pain and inflammation in one or more joints. It impacts millions of people around the world.  Sometimes, gout has no symptoms  and other times, when symptoms get worse, flares or “gout attacks” occur. Fortunately, people with gout can successfully treat and  take care of the condition.  

Gout occurs when uric acid, a breakdown product of protein found in the blood, builds up in the body and causes crystals to form in the joints. Lumps of the crystals, called tophi, then form under the  skin, in the joints, or in other tissues. (Gout can form Kidney stones!! Ouch!!.) Excess uric acid can cause significant damage to the tissues and bones. This can lead to severe pain, deformities, and alter how well a person can move (mobility).

If gout is not treated, it can lead to more frequent gout attacks and complications that can affect  other organs in the body such as the kidneys and heart. Gout can also take a toll on a person’s  mental health and well-being.  

Your rheumatologist can safely diagnose, treat, and help patients manage their gout. By being proactive and taking care of the condition, people with gout can achieve the following:

  1. Lowered risk of frequent gout attacks: The use of a class of medicines called urate lowering therapy (ULT) has been shown in studies to significantly lower how often gout  attacks occur in people taking them. In one study, patients treated with these medicines  had a 60% reduction in the risk of recurrent gout attacks compared to those who did not  receive them. This means less gout flares impacting day to day activities.  
  2. Lower risk of joint damage: Over time, the chronic inflammation caused by gout can  lead to joint damage, including cartilage and bone loss, joint deformities, and reduced  mobility. Proper treatment with ULT has been proven to lower inflammation, pain, and  joint damage. 
  3. Lower risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD): Gout is a risk factor for CKD (a gradual loss  of kidney function), but appropriate management of gout can lower this risk. One study  found that gout patients who received appropriate ULT had a 27% reduction in the risk of  developing CKD compared to those who did not receive the medicine.  
  4. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD): Gout is associated with a higher risk of CVD  (also known as heart disease), but appropriate management of gout can lower this risk.  One study found that gout patients treated with ULT had a 31% reduction in the risk of  major adverse cardiovascular events compared to those who did not receive ULT.  

It is important to work with a rheumatologist to properly treat and manage gout to prevent the  short-term and long-term complications of this possibly debilitating condition. Rheumatologists can work together with patients to support them with self-management through diet and lifestyle  changes along with prescribing medicines that keep the condition well-controlled. Research has shown that successful management of gout can significantly lower the risk of gout-related  complications and thus overall well-being. 

At Overlake Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center we help people with arthritic joint pains become pain free and people with autoimmune diseases get their immune system back on track. If you are in the greater Seattle area, call us or contact us and we will help you on your journey to wellness.

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