WHAT IS GOUT?
Gout is a common form of arthritis. It can cause pain, swelling, and redness in your joints. Gout usually begins in the big toe, but can strike other joints such as the ankle, knee, wrist, fingers, or elbow. Usually only one joint is affected, but some people may have gout in more than one joint, especially if it is not found and treated. Gout happens if a substance called uric acid gets too high in your blood.
SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF GOUT
A gout attack can happen without warning. Most often, pain begins suddenly in one or more joints, usually at night. Often the joint swells, feels warm, becomes painful, and the skin over the joint may look red, tight, and shiny. Pain and swelling usually peaks within 12 to 24 hours, and gets better within a few days to several weeks. The good news? Treatment can help shorten a gout attack and ease pain. The earlier treatment is started, the better. Gout attacks are also called flare-ups.
HOW IS GOUT DIAGNOSED?
If you have symptoms, talk to your doctor.
- Joint Fluid Test
- Blood Test
- Imaging Tests (X-rays, CT scans, Ultrasounds)
HOW DOES GOUT HURT MY KIDNEYS?
Uric acid usually affects joints like the big toe, but crystals can also form in your kidneys or in the tubes that carry urine from your body. Kidney stones can develop and hurt the kidneys by:
- Blocking the kidneys from removing waste products, which can cause infection
- Scarring the kidneys with their sharp edges
This can lead to kidney disease or kidney failure. There is also evidence that high uric acid levels alone can hurt your kidneys, aside from the damage caused by kidney stones.
DID YOU KNOW?
- About 8.3 million U.S. adults (3.9 percent) are living with gout today and up to 10% of people worldwide may have gout. Gout is the most common form of arthritis.
- Gout puts you at risk for kidney disease. Up to 20% percent of people with gout have mild to moderate kidney disease.
- Having kidney disease puts you at risk for gout. It is the third most common risk factor for gout.
- A recent study found that 64% of kidney patients with gout were not being treated for it and about 80% of these patients had uncontrolled gout.
HOW CAN I TREAT GOUT?
Medicines to reduce pain during gout attacks include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammary drugs (NSAIDS) – NSAIDS can worsen kidney disease, check with your doctor before taking
Medicines to keep future attacks from happening include:
- Allopurinol and Febuxostat
- Probenecid and Lesinurad
This AAKP patient education web page is supported by an educational donation by Horizon Therapeutics.