Do you suffer from gout or know of someone who does? Gout is a very common type of arthritis which causes joints to become excruciatingly painful and swollen, usually affecting the toes, knees and ankles. It is more common in men, and certain foods such as beer, shellfish and red meat can cause the disease to flare.
Certainly lifestyle measures such as avoiding some of the common triggering foods, keeping a healthy weight, and hydration can help. However, often this is not enough. If you are experiencing two or more flares a year, this means your joints are at risk of developing permanent damage, which can cause severe limitations in mobility as you age.
Elevated uric acid levels can contribute to gout, and there are standard medications to help lower the level of uric acid. However, the timing of starting these medications along with adjuvant short term therapies to reduce duration of symptoms are often times confused by physicians, which can actually lead to more gout flares.
Rheumatologists are experts in diagnosing and managing all types of arthritis, including gout. If you continue to have gout flares despite therapy and/or are suspicious of having this condition, it is best to have a rheumatology consultation for further comprehensive arthritis evaluation and management.