Are you suffering from gout? It may be time to seek treatment. For those that don't know, gout is a type of arthritis causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in a joint, most commonly in the big toe. It is caused by too much uric acid in the bloodstream. It settles into a joint, where it forms uric acid crystals that stab the tissues in the joint. Uric acid can be found in animal organ meats, fish, shellfish, scallops, turkey, pork, mutton, veal, and vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms, green peas and dried beans. The body produces its own uric acid which is filtered through the kidneys too. Some health conditions also contribute uric acid to the body like heart attack, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer.

The only way to treat gout is with medications. The pain must be stopped first, because it can affect a person's well-being, including their ability to sleep as it usually strikes at night. To that end, NSAIDs are popular for stopping pain and reducing swelling. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve,) and prescription NSAIDs such as Celebrex and Indocin. Indomethacin is a stronger NSAID for pain and inflammation. Corticosteroids such as Prednisone are often prescribed if sufferers are allergic to some NSAIDs. It controls inflammation and pain effectively but be aware that it also raises blood sugar levels.

Next, the uric acid will need to be controlled. Several medications help your body expel uric acid when you urinate, some help the kidneys pass uric acid, and some decreases production of uric acid. For example, Probenecid helps the kidneys pass uric acid. Allopurinol decreases uric acid production. Lesinurad helps the body pass uric acid when it urinates. Pegloticase breaks down uric acid. Limiting the amount of uric acid in the body or blocking its production is a two-pronged approach. One approach is with the use of medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. These prevent the body from metabolizing the uric acid components that make the uric crystals in the first place. Examples of xanthine oxidase inhibitors include Aloprim, Uloric, Zyloprim, and Lopurin. Drugs that help the kidneys pass uric acid are called uricosurics such as Benemid, Colchicine, Probenecid, Mitigare, and Colcrys.

The second approach to limiting the amount of uric acid in the body is through dietary restrictions or rather avoiding foods that contain uric acid. Limiting doesn't necessarily mean eliminating them altogether. It just means consuming them once in a while. However, a good idea would be to eliminate beer and soft drinks, as these contain higher concentrations of uric acid. Consuming meats, seafood, and certain vegetables should be limited as well. Exercise and losing weight has been shown to have a positive effect on gout, too.

Certain conditions such as diabetes and heart disease can make gout worse, producing flare-up more frequently. If you or a loved one may be suffering from gout, talk to a doctor as soon as possible to discuss potential treatment options. You don't have to live in pain.

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