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Diagnosing and Treating Gout
Health April 2, 2018

Diagnosing and Treating Gout

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in people who have increased levels of uric acid in their blood. The excess uric acid can form many needle-like crystals that often accumulate in the joints, leading to sudden episodes of severe pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, and warmth.

There are several causes of gout that include genetics, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Eating habits and lifestyle choices such as the consumption of junk food and alcohol, cigarette smoking, and excessive consumption of sweets can lead to conditions like gout. People who are obese often have a higher risk of developing gout.

Procedures for diagnosing gout
Gout diagnosis is often based on the examination of the joints and the symptoms faced by the patient. However, the doctor can suggest several tests to confirm whether a person suffers from gout.

Doctors often start with reviewing the patient’s medical history and examining the affected joints. Post examination, a blood test is usually conducted to obtain a proper gout diagnosis. The doctor is likely to ask about the symptoms, medication, diet, and intensity of the gout attack to the patient to understand the condition better.

There are several reasons for a joint pain that the doctor needs to rule out before concluding that the reason is gout. Other reasons could be inflammation, injury, or any other type of arthritis. A blood test will help the doctor identify the level of uric acid in the blood. It is important to understand that a high level of uric acid in the blood doesn’t always imply that a person has gout; moreover, a normal level of uric acid doesn’t confirm that a person does not have gout. This is when other procedures for diagnosing gout come into play. Other diagnoses include an X-ray, CT or MRI, or an ultrasound to examine the soft tissue and the bone.

From the affected joint, the doctor can remove some fluid and examine it to identify uric acid crystals. If one can find the uric acid crystals in the joint fluids, it makes the diagnosis more accurate.

There are several medications that are involved in treating gout. The kind of medication that is chosen by the doctor for the patient is usually based on the current health preferences. Medication used for gout is taken to treat the acute gout attacks and prevent future attacks. Medication for gout helps in reducing risk of developing complications from the existing condition of gout.

Examples of medications used for treating gout are as follows.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
They are over-the-counter medications that are given to the patients to stop the acute gout attack. There are certain risks of NSAIDS that include stomach ache, ulcers, and bleeding.

Colchicine
These are pain relievers that are prescribed to reduce the pain caused by gout. The side effects can include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea when taken in large doses.

Corticosteroids
These medicines are used to control the inflammation and pain cause by gout. The come in the form of pills and injections. People who cannot take NSAIDS or colchicine usually take corticosteroids for gout.

The recovery period for gout depends on the intensity of the condition and the medications a patient is on. There are many underlying factors that determine the recovery time, which differs from one person to another.