Gout 101

Arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints in our bodies, effects approximately 350 million people in the world today. In the US alone, nearly 40 million people are affected! If you’re one of those people, you know all too well how arthritis can make being physically active more difficult…But did you know that it also puts you at risk for developing gout, too? Gout is a form of arthritis where crystals of uric acid build up within the joints, causing painful inflammation, redness, swelling, and can even lead to kidney failure when severe or left untreated. Among those affected by arthritis, only 4% will develop gout–which is 4% too many!

The onset of gout is quick and marked by the affected area becoming discolored and warm to the touch. Though gout can affect many joints in the body, such as those within our knees, fingers, wrists, and elbows, it can also attack our ankles and feet. The most common joint for gout to affect is our big toe, another reason to always check with your trusted podiatrists to see if you’re at risk for developing gout. Thankfully, most cases of gout will subside within a few hours, sometimes days. Even more rarely, some cases of gout can last over a week!

Interestingly, men are affected more often than women by gout, and black men even more often than white men. Other risk factors that can make someone more susceptible to developing gout include obesity, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, certain medications, conditions, and diseases that can cause elevated uric acid levels, people with hypothyroidism, and those with any abnormalities in kidney function. Don’t let this information discourage you — gout can be treated and even prevented with proper diet, exercise, hydration, and regular check-ups with your podiatrist.

Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment if gout is a condition you need to worry about and how to decrease the likelihood of developing gout. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.