Ask the health ex­perts

If you’ve had gout, you’ll know just how painful it can be. Shorten and pre­vent an at­tack with our ad­vice

YOURS (UK) - - Content -

Gout is a type of arthri­tis. “It can be very painful and de­bil­i­tat­ing and can some­times lead to long-term dam­age to the af­fected joint, so it’s im­por­tant to do every­thing to con­trol it,” says Yours doc­tor Dr Tr­isha McNair. “In a gout at­tack, urate crys­tals are de­posited in the joint, caus­ing in­tense in­flam­ma­tion. You can help to man­age your gout by con­trol­ling the amount of urate in your blood. You can do this by im­prov­ing your diet and keep­ing on top of health prob­lems such as high blood pres­sure, raised choles­terol and di­a­betes. “Sev­eral dif­fer­ent drugs, such as al­lop­uri­nol, could help to lower urate lev­els and pre­vent a flare-up. These need to be taken long-term as it can take many months to get lev­els down and re­move all the crys­tals from your joints. These drugs are usu­ally re­served for those with fre­quent at­tacks or more se­vere gout though so speak to your GP about whether they are right for you. “Ease pain dur­ing an at­tack by us­ing a cool pack over the joint. Pro­tect it at night with a metal frame to hold off the bed­clothes. “Many peo­ple need medicines to shorten a flare up; these in­clude non-steroidal an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibupro­fen), a medicine called colchicine, which is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion trig­gered by the urate crys­tals and steroids. These medicines can cause side-ef­fects so you will need to be care­fully guided by your doc­tor.”

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