Gout is defined as abrupt, severe joint pain. A doctor must be seen for treatment during an attack and to stop future episodes.
When to consult a doctor
A doctor should be seen if the following are present:
- Abrupt, intense joint pain, usually in the big toe or fingers, elbows, wrists or knees
- Reddened, warm, swollen skin over the affected joint
It is important to note that gout does not trigger permanent damage to the joints if treatment is started right away.
Management of gout
Once the episodes of gout occur, the treatment is aimed on reducing the pain and swelling. The attacks are typically managed with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.
In case gout does not seem to improve after 3-4 days, steroids in tablet or as a shot is given.
Aside from taking the medications, the following must be done:
- Rest and elevate the affected limb
- Keep the joint cool by applying an ice pack for up to 20 minutes at a time
- Increase the intake of water
- Avoid covering the affected joint at night time
Remember that gout can recur every few months or years. It might come back more often if not properly treated.
If an individual experiences frequent episodes or testing reveals high level of uric acid in the blood, the doctor might prescribe allupurinol. This medication is given to lower the uric acid level and must be taken on a long-term basis. The drug should be taken regularly even if there are no symptoms present.
Take note that an attack can occur if the individual is stressed or has an illness. If a joint was injured or bruised and more painful than what is expected after a minor bump, it might be a sign of an upcoming attack. It is vital to seek treatment right away if an attack is on the way.