Gout is a form of arthritis. The disease affects men more than women (95% in men and 55% in women). The initial attack lasts approximately few days and even if untreated withdraws completely. The following attacks may occur within weeks, months or even years. Sometimes they do not repeat at all. If the condition tends to recur frequently the joints may be damaged for good. The big toe is affected in amazingly 90%.
Prevention is the best cure. The condition develops because of the genetic predisposition and the impossibility of a person to process uric acid. The level of uric acid increases if one eats foods rich in purines (such as meat). That is why these patients are advised to modify their diet in order to restrict the purine intake. They are supposed to drink enough water, to lose weight, discontinue with alcohol drinks.
If a gout attack occurs the treatment is conducted to stop the attack and to prevent possible future attacks. The great importance is given to avoiding complications (formation of tophi, kidney stones and damage to the joints). After the attack the levels of uric acid must be brought and kept under control.
Medications that are used include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cochicine, corticosteroids, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), allopurinol, probenecid, sulfinpyrasone. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the first medications that are administered in acute attack. The dose that is given to a patient is initially high but it is reduced over the time. They have to be administered at least 48 hours. To protect patients from future gout attacks doctors tend to give colhicine. This anti inflammatory drug is equally efficient in treating acute symptoms as well as preventing from new attacks. For those patients who cannot take previously mentioned medications corticostroids are the drugs of choice. Allopurinol and Probenecid are used in case of chronic gout. These medications are taken to prevent future attacks. Sulfinpyrasone can reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood hence prevent the attacks. Additionally two more medications can be applied even though their primary function is not related to gout. The first one is Losartan which is an antihypertensive drug with potential of reducing the levels of uric acid, and the second one is Fenofibrate which is lipid-lowering drug. Strong pain can be relieved with painkillers.
There are certain suggestions which may be of some help in prevention of gout attacks. The fluid intake must be continuous. Those who are overweight need to loose weight as obesity leads to the condition. Dietary alterations are essential as this way the purines are taken in less amounts. Regular check-ups and regular taking of the prescribed medications are quite important for prevention of the future attacks.