Your Guide to Gout

Dr. Edwin Martinez de Andino is the rheumatology expert at Carolina Musculoskeletal Institute. With almost 30 years of experience in the medical field, Dr. Andino is committed to giving patients the quality care that they deserve. 

Part of improving musculoskeletal health is learning about the diseases that can arise, their warning signs and how to prevent them. Dr. Martinez de Andino wants to help educate you on one of the most common forms of arthritis that he treats: gout.

Learn the facts about gout this October and how you can lower your risk for a gout attack.

What Is Gout?
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden attacks of severe pain. The attacks can be scary because the person often does not know what the cause of the pain is. It usually affects one joint at a time—often the big toe—but can attack several joints at once. Gout is a serious condition that needs medical treatment.

What Are the Symptoms?
Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually a big toe
Sudden joint pain that often starts at night
Red or purplish skin around the affected joint
Restricted movement in the joint

How Does Gout Happen?
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). High levels of uric acid can cause hard crystals in your joints to form, resulting in gout. The actual cause for a rise in uric acid is unknown, and someone can have high levels for a long time without knowing.

Who Is at Risk for Gout?
Your risk for gout increases if you:
Are male
Are overweight
Drink too much alcohol
Eat a diet that is high in chemicals called purines
Have a family history of gout

How Can I Lower My Risk for Gout or Gout Attacks?

While there are factors that put you at risk for gout that you can’t help,
there are some steps you can take to lower your risk.

Eat a diet that helps control levels of uric acid.
The gout diet is one that avoids meats such as fish that are high in purines. Additionally, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to help clean your system of uric acid. 

Maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is key to lowering your risk for gout. Exercise regularly, and if you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a healthy weight loss program.

Limit your consumption of aspirin.
Taking aspirin regularly can raise uric acid levels, increasing your risk for a gout attack. Talk with your doctor about other safe pain-relievers for you.

Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol consumption puts you at a huge risk for gout because it interferes with your body’s ability to clear uric acid. 

Avoid sugar.
Eating a diet high in sugar, including soda and candy, increases your risk for a gout attack. If you have a history of gout, you may want to skip the Halloween candy this year.

Drink plenty of water.
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to lower gout flares because water flushes uric acid out of your system.

CMI has been changing lives for the better in Aiken County since 1979. The Institute is a multi-specialty medical practice specializing in complete musculoskeletal care right here in your backyard. If you or a loved one is struggling with chronic pain or swelling, contact the experts at CMI right away. To schedule a consultation with one of CMI’s specialists, call us at 803-644-4264