Gout is a type of rheumatic disease that affects the joints of the body. The disease is extremely painful and the attacks usually occur during the night while you sleep. Although the big toe is the most commonly affected joint, others may be affected. Symptoms of gout occur in four stages, yet healthcare providers use the acute gout treatment to alleviate initial pain and deter future attacks.
Gout is diagnosed based on symptoms, blood tests that exhibit high levels of uric acid, and the discovery of urate crystals in the joint fluid. The disease is sometimes difficult to diagnose, however, as it can be confused with other illnesses such as sprain or an infection.
During the acute stages of gout, the symptoms generally last 5 to 10 days. When a gout attack strikes, it is sudden and painful. The affected joint is swollen, hot, tender, dusty red or bruised. The acute gout treatment goal is to lessen the duration of attack as well as to prevent chronic gout.
In most cases, the acute attacks are managed through the use of medications. Initial treatment may become complicated in that the needs must be tailored for each person. Additionally, the medication may need to be changed from time to time. As previously noted, acute attacks are very painful and the affected area is swollen.
The physician may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, corticosteroid drugs, and/or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The NSAIDs is prescribed in high doses initially. The corticosteroid drugs may be injected directly into the affected joint.
The colchicine is prescribed if the NSAIDs are not effective for controlling the symptoms. This drug is given by intravenous injection or via mouth. When taken by mouth, however, diarrhea is a common side effect. Incidentally, the colchicine drug is most effective when it is given within 12 hours after you have suffered an acute attack.
These medications are generally effective for acute gout treatment. Eventually, the healthcare provider will lower the doses of NSAIDs and colchicine when it has proved effective against an acute gout attack. It is imperative that you take control of your lifestyle to prevent further attacks. Healthy lifestyle changes along with these medications should prevent future gout attacks.