Gout Makes You Want To Shout!

Kansas City Foot and Ankle explains the Gentlemen’s Disease

What do singer Jared Leto, baseball pitcher David Wells, King Henry VIII of England, and inventor Benjamin Franklin all have in common? Apart from being men, they all had a condition called gout. Gout is a disease that arises from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. The gender of the above afflicted is no coincidence. Gout is most commonly seen in middle aged men, although women can succumb to gouty attacks as well (especially post-menopause). Uric acid crystals love to settle in the big toe joint and can make it swell up red, hot and painful in the night.  If these attacks continue untreated, gouty tophi, or chalky build-up can balloon beneath the skin and cause bone erosion. If you have experienced the above symptoms in your big toe and have not had an injury, this strongly indicates gout is the culprit. But a more definitive examination is required to rule out other possibilities.

Gout is not a new disease. Back in the 1700’s, gout was considered an illness of gentlemen. Only well-to-do men were stricken by gout. This air of snobbery that surrounded the disease stemmed from the fact that only wealthy men could afford to eat rich, creamy foods and red meat several nights of the week while poorer individuals could not attain such an extravagant diet. Diet plays a big role in determining if you will have gout.

There are three main ways to get a build-up of uric acid in your body: 1. Over-consumption of purine-rich food that breaks down in the body as uric acid, 2. Decreased uric acid excretion in the kidneys, or 3. The liver is making too much uric acid.
By consuming purine rich food, you are flooding your body with uric acid which crystallizes in the joints. If you have been diagnosed with gout, your doctor will review some foods that you should avoid to prevent a flare up of gout.

There are ways to help protect yourself against gout. Eating citrus fruits and low-fat dairy products can help prevent a build-up of uric acid in your body. It is also important to drink lots of water. The kidneys main job is to filter out the blood. If you put more water into the system, the kidneys will filter more. That will increase excretion of uric acid and make attacks much less likely. Coffee, a diuretic, is also thought to help. While diet is an important factor, if you have gout, it is important to keep it under control to prevent the disfiguring effects of gouty tophi and bone erosions.

At Kansas City Foot and Ankle, an examination and x-rays can be performed in our office to quickly assess your condition.  Lab work is also important in determining the level of uric acid in your blood. If the examination and labs confirms gout, the next step is a treatment plan that is right for you. We are fortunate to have several effective medicines on the market to treat gout.  In your consultation, Dr. Green will assess the appropriate medicine that fits your individual needs and lifestyle. If you have a more advanced condition called gouty tophi, it can be surgically removed in a simple, out-patient procedure.

Call Kansas City Foot and Ankle at 816-943-1111 today to see if your symptoms are in fact gout.  We have many same day appointments and can diagnose and start treating your condition in one visit.  We accept most insurance plans.  No need to suffer another day, call us today.