• Gout

    Gout is an autoimmune disease caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body and uric acid crystals in the joints. It’s the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, causing painful flares of red, swollen, hot-feeling and sore joints. The big toe is the most common joint affected by gout, but other joints can be affected.

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    John Wade, MD, FRCPC, discusses gout treatment options.
    John Wade, MD, FRCPC, discusses gout treatment options.
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    Dr. Kam Shojania, MD FRCPC, Rheumatologist, discusses the gout diagnosis.
    Dr. Kam Shojania, MD FRCPC, Rheumatologist, discusses the gout diagnosis.
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    John Wade, MD, FRCPC, discusses gout treatment side effects.
    John Wade, MD, FRCPC, discusses gout treatment side effects.
  • Who Gets Gout?

    Most commonly, gout affects men in their 40s and 50s. It commonly runs in families, so it is likely that genetics play a role in the development of this disease. Gout almost never affects women until they reach menopause or have a kidney problem.Gout is more common in people who have kidney problems or who are taking certain medications. In treatment  your pharmacist,  is the right HCP to make sure it’s the right medication for you.

                                 

    Symptoms of Gout

    Sudden and Severe Pain in a Joint

    Gout commonly presents suddenly as an attack often happens in the early hours of the morning. In many cases, a person with gout goes to bed feeling fine, and wakes up with a burning joint.

    In most patients, one joint is affected by gout at first (commonly the big toe). Local Rheumatologist

    Multiple Joint Pain

    As gout worsens, more than one joint may be affected, such as the ankle, knee or foot. If it becomes severe, it can also affect the elbows, wrists and fingers.

    Deposits of Hardened Uric Acid

    In some patients with gout, uric acid levels remain very high for a long time, This can lead to crystallization in other tissues and deposits of hardened uric acid, called tophi.

    In many cases, tophi is painful and develops over the elbows, in the finger pads, on the backs of the hands or on the tendons behind your ankles or on the outer edges of the ears. If left untreated, tophi can actually rupture or damage to nearby bone and tendons.

    Chronic Gout Episodes

    Because gout can be a chronic condition, people may experience continous swollen joints or mini-attacks. If uric acid levels stay high, the crystals continue to form, which can lead to long-term damage to the joints. It can even destroy them.

    Frequency & Duration of Flares

    Typically, gout flares go away after 7 to 10 days of treatment, and then it can be several months or years before another flare occurs. Chances are, if a person has had one attack of gout, they will eventually have others.

    Common Tests for Gout

    Joint fluid tests: In order to look for crystals of uric acid, a physician will use a needle to draw a sample of the fluid in an affected joint. The fluid is then inspected under a microscope to look for uric acid crystals.

    Laboratory culture: To rule out and infection, your  Local rheumatologist may take some fluid from an affected joint. This fluid can be cultured on a laboratory dish to see whether or not bacteria grow.

    Blood tests: This test can detect high levels of uric acid in their blood.

    Creatinine test: A blood test can help doctors assess kidney function and see how well kidneys can clear uric acid from the body.

    Scans

    In addition to blood tests, your physician may recommend scans to diagnose gout, including:

    • Ultrasound to show crystals of uric acid or tophi in a joint
    • X-rays to rule out other types of arthritis

    Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

    Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

  • Managing & Treating Gout

    The best way for patients to manage gout is by keeping levels of uric acid in a healthy range. To limit uric acid production, it’s important to avoid or limit foods such as meats, fish and seafood, alcohol and sugary drinks.

    Gout treatment involves initially reducing the pain and swelling plus keeping uric acid at normal levels to reduce or prevent further attacks. Your rheumatologist will want to completely treat your gout attack before you lower uric acid levels, which should ideally be below 360 umol/L (6 mg/dL). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prednisone, colchicine, allopurinol, febuxostat and steroid injections can be effective gout treatments. Often seeing a local family physician for a referral to a rheumatologist or a registered dietician or a physiotherapist is often needed to deal with gout. 

    Some patients will be put on a prevention therapy – a medication they take daily. If their level of uric acid is still not low enough, they may have to undergo treatment with acute drugs for a period of time. In terms of lifestyle changes, one of the best ways to prevent gout attacks is to maintain a healthy body weight.

    Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

    Now health Network Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

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