What is it?
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by persistently elevated levels of uric acid within the blood. This leads to rapid onset recurrent episodes of painful swollen joints. This may in the long term lead to a permanently swollen joint with tophi which are soft tissue manifestations of urate crystals. It can affect any joint but the most commonly affected joint is at the base of the big toe.
Diagnosis is with a careful clinical examination and analysis of the blood or joint fluid looking for uric acid crystals.
Risk factors include being overweight and having a diet high in red meat or beer. Treatment is with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and colchicine.
Prevention is with lifestyle modification including dietary changes, vitamin C supplementation and preventative medications such as Allopurinol.
Very occasionally if left untreated, recurrent episodes can lead to destruction of the joint surfaces, joint deformity and soft tissue lesions. This on occasion leads to the requirement for surgery to remove gouty tophi and very occasionally replace joints.
If you would like to discuss management of your gout, please contact the office on 01483 938750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.