Avoiding ‘the gout’ this summer

Historically known as ‘the king of diseases and the disease of kings’, bouts of affliction with gout have been documented as far back as the Egyptians in 2,600 BCE.  As far as the reference to royalty, the disease was often seen in those, kings for instance, who had the resources to eat and drink as much as and as freely as they wanted.  This ‘king of diseases’ makes no qualms of the social tier it affects as many of us ‘common’ Americans have been pained by this malady.  More than half of people who have gout attacks have pain in their big toe as the photo implies.

If you have had this problem before, you are all too familiar with the excruciating pain that can occur along with the warmth and redness of the joint.  Gout can occur when the body cannot rid itself of purine molecules as quickly as it should.  While excessive consumption of foods high in these molecules can precipitate an attack; dehydration, medications, and living with other diseases, like diabetes, can all lead to crystallization of uric acid in the big toe joint.  It is these sharp crystals that cause pain. The big toe joint may be most commonly affected, but these crystals can collect in many other places in the body.

One inexpensive medication that was a long mainstay of treatment for gout, cholchicine, is only available under the more expensive brand name Cholcrys®.  While not the only medication used to treat, it was often the most effective and least expensive.  Whether or not medication costs are prohibitive to your treatment, we could all agree that preventing the problem is less painful than dealing with treating it.  The heat of summer can quickly concentrate the fluids in your body and cause an attack, so please remember to stay hydrated!  Avoiding ‘rich foods’ and reviewing your medications with your family doctor are things you can also do to help to prevent gout attacks.  If you suspect you may be suffering from a gout attack, make an appointment with your Austin podiatrist today!

Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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