Gout

Tony Makhlouf, MD, FACR -  - Rheumatologist

Arthritis and Rheumatology Center

Tony Makhlouf, MD, FACR

Rheumatologist located in Simi Valley, CA

Gout is an incredibly painful form of inflammatory arthritis that affects approximately 8 million people in the United States — 6 million men and 2 million women. Because gout comes and goes very quickly, it can be hard to pin down, which is where a rheumatologist comes in. Tony Makhlouf, MD, at Arthritis and Rheumatology Center, has considerable experience diagnosing and treating gout, preventing attacks from striking in the first place. If you’re in Simi Valley, California, or the surrounding area, call or schedule an appointment here on the website.

Gout Q & A

What is gout?

Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis that’s caused by a buildup of uric acid in your blood. This buildup leads to the formation of sharp, needle-like crystals that get into your joints, causing severe pain.

Gout can generally be divided into the following stages:

  • Asymptomatic hyperuricemia, in which your uric acid levels are high, but the crystals haven’t formed yet
  • Acute gout, or an attack of gout, which is characterized by intense pain in your joint, usually your big toe
  • Interval gout, or the period in between attacks
  • Chronic gout, which develops after years of high uric levels in your blood

What are the symptoms of gout?

As explained above, the first time you’re usually aware of your gout is when you have an attack. These attacks typically come on at night and bring with them extreme, sharp pain and inflammation of your affected joint. In most cases, this joint is at the base of your big toe and your first indication of an attack is a burning sensation in that area.

These attacks typically last no more than a few days, often leaving you with residual soreness and swelling.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by a high level of uric acid in your blood, which can be brought about by several factors, such as:

  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol, especially beer, or sweetened drinks
  • Eating large amounts of red meat or fish
  • Obesity
  • Heredity
  • Sex — men have naturally higher levels of uric acid

How is gout treated?

If you’re experiencing an attack of gout, Dr. Makhlouf’s first order of business is to alleviate the pain, which he does with medications. You can do your part by drinking plenty of water and avoiding the foods and drinks listed in the previous question.

If your gout is chronic, Dr. Makhlouf will turn to:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Pain relievers
  • Corticosteroids for inflammation
  • Medications to block the production of uric acid
  • Medications that help your kidneys remove the uric acid

Through medications and infusion therapies, Dr. Makhlouf is often able to relieve the inflammation and painful symptoms of gout.

To prevent further attacks of gout, call Arthritis and Rheumatology Center, or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.