What Launches Gout Attacks?

gout

Tis the season for cocktail parties, festive dinners, celebratory eating and—gout. At Superior Foot &
Ankle Care Center
, we expect to see more patients coming to us with gout at this time of year. We’ll often hear how after a holiday party they went home to bed only to wake up in the middle of the night with severe pain in their big toe. Although the foot was fine when they went to sleep, when they awoke in pain, they noticed that it was now swollen, red and hot. These are symptoms of a classic gout attack scenario.

The connection between feasting and gout is that there are several foods frequently found on holiday menus—red meat, shellfish, rich sauces, red wine, beer, and brandy–that are high in a chemical known as purines. Purines are also found in the body. When they break down, they produce uric acid. When there is an overabundance of uric acid in the body, it builds up in the joints where it can crystallize and bring on a gout attack.

Who’s at Risk?

Of course, not everyone who eats a slice of rib roast or has a glass of red wine gets gout. There are some patients whose bodies overproduce purines or have difficulty eliminating. They are therefore more sensitive to new purines entering into the body. Men aged 40-60 are the most frequent victims of gout attacks. In addition to foods, there are other factors that can increase the likelihood of gout, including:

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications and vitamins

If you have suffered what you think is a gout attack, you’ll want to make an appointment at our Long Beach office as soon as possible. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley, and Dr. Constance Ornelas will examine your foot and get a medical history from you. In addition, the foot doctor may order laboratory tests or x-rays to confirm a gout diagnosis. In the initial stages, the podiatrist may prescribe medication to relieve gout symptoms and recommend that you drink plenty of fluids and keep your foot elevated as much as possible. If gout proves to be a recurring problem, prescribing maintenance medication may be an option. To learn more, contact us by calling: (562) 420-9800.