Anyone who’s been sidelined by gout knows the first order of business is relieving the pain.
“Gout is a condition that causes extreme pain, swelling and redness in joints. The classic scenario is the joint at the base of the right toe. Typically patients have intense pain, usually it last 24-48 hours,” says Dr. Gary Goforth, family practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.
A form of arthritis, gout is brought on by uric acid crystals forming in the joint. Medical treatment falls into two categories. The first is meant to calm an attack.
“There are medicines like Coltrazine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin. You can use those to treat acute attacks,” says Dr. Goforth.
People with chronic gout use different drugs, opting for medicines that prevent uric acid crystals from forming. If someone has a flare-up while using these drugs, it’s important to suspend treatment before taking an anti-inflammatory.
“We cannot use the medicines to lower the uric acid crystals during an attack. You can actually make it worse. We use that between attacks to prevent the next attack,” says Dr. Goforth.
Modifying diet can also help decrease gout episodes. Sugary drinks and alcohol should be avoided, while meat, poultry and seafood should be limited.
“We tell people to eat fresh vegetables, eat more dairy products, drink coffee,” says Dr. Goforth.
Yes, you heard that right- for reasons unknown, patients who drink coffee have lower rates of gout.