Not Just on the Feet, Symptoms of Gout Can Occur in the Hands

Jakarta: Gout is a form arthritis a painful condition that usually affects the joints in the lower body, especially the big toe, as well as the ankle or knee. However, gout attacks can occur in almost any joint, including the fingers, wrists and elbows.

“Gout attacks occur in people with high levels of uric acid in their blood. Uric acid is a by-product of natural processes in the body. Normally, it passes through the kidneys and leaves the body in the urine,” says Rheumatologist Chad Deal, MD.

Gout causes attacks, or flares, that appear suddenly with hot, red, or swollen joints. Joints can be so painful that it hurts to move. Sometimes a joint looks like it’s infected, when it’s not.

According to Dr. Deal, some people have an inefficient system to get rid of uric acid and build up in the blood. When uric acid levels exceed 6.8 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), it can leave the bloodstream and stay in the joints. From there it can break down and release the crystals into the joint space.

Uric acid crystals can form white lumps called ‘tophi’. However, these lumps are not painful.

“These crystals are the cause of the red, hot and swollen joints from a gout attack. Short-term treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms, often with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or the drug colchicine,” explains Dr Deal.

The long-term goal is to prevent future attacks by lowering blood uric acid levels and keeping them consistently below 6 mg/dL. This is done with medications, such as allopurinol or febuxostat.

“Once your gout attack is over and you feel better, it’s easy to forget to take your uric acid-lowering medication. But you need to move on. “Anyone who has had more than one gout attack should see their doctor to have their uric acid level tested and make sure they are taking the correct dose of uric acid-lowering medication,” concluded Dr Deal.



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