If you have ever had back pain, you know how difficult it can be to pinpoint the cause. From bone spurs to overworked muscles to slipped discs, there’s no shortage of ailments that could be at the root of your aching lumbar.
And here’s one more. Over the last 10 years, rheumatologists have documented more cases of gout appearing in the spine. So if you are one of the 8 million Americans with this inflammatory form of arthritis – and you have unexplained back or neck pain, tingling sensations down your arm or leg, or numbness – there’s a small chance the culprit could be your gout.
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In addition to being treated with medication for symptoms of an acute flare, should a person with gout be put on long-term uric acid-lowering medication to reduce future flares? And is it safe to keep raising the dose of the medication until uric acid drops below a specified target? Rheumatologists and other physicians are currently grappling with those questions, and a new study may help lead to some answers.
What Is Gout?
Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States, affecting more than 8 million adults. It develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. Needle-shaped crystals form in and around joints – often beginning in the base of the big toe – causing episodes of severe pain, heat and swelling.
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A new study found that people with gout have a 25 percent greater likelihood of dying prematurely than people without gout. The findings also show that this increased mortality rate has not improved over the past 16 years, unlike the mortality rate for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Gout, which affects more than 4 percent of adults in the United States, is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. It develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. The acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling. Gout is also associated with other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
Continue reading People with Gout at Risk of Premature Death
An international panel of leading gout experts has published new recommendations advising that doctors use a treat-to-target approach for managing gout, a painful form of arthritis that affects more than 8 million adults in the United States. Central to the recommendations is using medication to reduce and keep blood uric acid levels below 6 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) – and even lower in people with severe gout. The recommendations were published online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in September.
Continue reading Panel Recommends Aggressive Treat-to-Target Approach to Gout
It may come as a surprise that gout is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis among adults in the United States.1 It’s also very painful, but gout can be a management disease – meaning there are several things people with gout can do to reduce flares, or eliminate flares all together.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Launches Wipe Out Gout – Awareness Campaign
At times, life can be difficult for those living with gout, but it can be just as hard on spouses. When you live in close quarters with a significant other, you undoubtedly feel the pain they deal with on a daily basis. Mira knows this firsthand.
Early on in their marriage, Mira’s husband returned from a business trip with a painful toe and they couldn’t figure out the cause. “For someone who was athletic and never had any health problems, it was inexplicable,” says Mira. “That first attack lasted about a week, and we were young, so he didn’t go see a doctor.”
Continue reading “Honey, I Have Gout”: A Spouse Reflects on Her Worries
Gout is one of the oldest known human diseases – dating back to 2600 BC – but a new study shows it’s a disease that patients still don’t understand very well. The study, published online in January 2016 in Arthritis Care & Research, found that just 14% of patients with this painful type of inflammatory arthritis actually knew what their uric acid level should be.
“It is an old disease for which there are really effective treatments and despite that, understanding of treatment goals is suboptimal. It is somewhat surprising,” said study author Ted Mikuls, MD, the Umbach Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Ohama. “Patients have pretty good knowledge of what causes gout and what drugs are used for, so the lack of knowledge about a treatment goal stood out.”
Continue reading Get Better Control of Your Gout
National Gout Awareness Day is recognized annually on May 22 to help raise awareness around gout, a painful disease that affects approximately 8.3 million Americans.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops as a result of excess levels of uric acid in the blood, which results in a condition called hyperuricemia.. The uric acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling.
Although gout appears to manifest itself suddenly as an acutely red, hot and swollen joint (often the big toe) with excruciating pain, it’s actually the result of a process that’s been occurring in the body for quite some time. The disease may be chronic for some patients, and for others it may remit for long periods of time, followed by flares for days to weeks.
Continue reading Today is Gout Awareness Day!