Find out more about who can develop gout and whether this condition’s nicknames have any validity.
Over the years, this painful arthritic condition has been labeled the “disease of kings” and the “rich man’s disease”. However, are these nicknames actually steeped in truth? What is it about this condition that causes people to believe that only a wealthy person can develop gout? Your Chandler podiatrist at Family Foot & Ankle Care PC has the answers.
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when crystals of uric acid build up in the joints. Those with gout produce a high amount of uric acid, so much so that their kidneys cannot get rid of it all. The first few gout attacks may only last a couple days and they usually affect the big toe; however, subsequent attacks may last longer and affect other joints.
What are the risk factors for developing gout?
Your Chandler podiatrist is here to tell you that despite what you’ve heard about this condition, anyone can get it and it has nothing to do with the size of your wallet. The major contributor to the development of gout tends to be alcohol consumption, particularly beer. However, certain foods like seafood and red meat can also bring on attacks.
Why does this gout myth exist?
Incidences of gout have been recorded as far back as the fifth century, and the nicknames it earned have just spawned throughout the ages. The main reason is that these gout attacks often appeared after a large banquet in which alcohol consumption was high. Additionally, the increase in eating organ meats and caviar could have also triggered these attacks since protein is then broken down into uric acid. For those who didn’t have money, they were most likely not attending these banquets, therefore, less likely to develop gout.
How is gout treated?
The most common line of defense against gout attacks is medication. Over-the-counter NSAIDs may be recommended to reduce symptoms; however, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, we may recommend prescription-strength pain relievers.
Colchicine is another pain reliever that is used to reduce gout-related pain. Even after an attack has gone away, we may prescribe a low dose of this medication to stave off future gout attacks. Corticosteroids can also be used to reduce joint pain and swelling and can either be injected or administered orally.
Even though medications are most effective for relieving your gout symptoms, there are also some lifestyle changes you should adopt:
- Limit or avoid alcohol and drinks with fructose
- Limit your intake of purine-rich foods like seafood and red meat
- Incorporate regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight
If you are concerned that your joint symptoms could be the result of gout then contact your Chandler podiatrist, Dr. Alan Discont, at Family Foot & Ankle Care, PC, to schedule an appointment today!