What is it?
Gout is an abnormality in the body related to uric acid production or excretion. Uric acid is usually broken down and eliminated, but high levels can cause crystals to collect in the joints and cause moderate to severe pain episodes.
How do I know if I have it?
A fairly sudden onset of unexplained pain, swelling and possibly redness in a joint, often times in the big toe, is how many people realize that they have gout. Advancing age, some kidney conditions, consumption of beer and certain foods and use of some medications might predispose a person to gout.
How can I be checked for it?
Many people have a set of symptoms that lead me to suspect this diagnosis. Together with physical exam findings and careful history taking, I am generally able to diagnose gout at the time of the pain crisis and treat accordingly. Blood tests can also help to confirm the diagnosis and manage the treatment options.
How can I be treated for it?
As with almost all medical conditions, I review diet and lifestyle choices so I can make recommendations that might not require medication. Gout can often be controlled by avoidance of certain foods, but many do require either a short course of pills to ease the pain, or even daily pills to avoid recurrences.