The different kinds of gout treatment include medication and diet modification. Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused when urate crystals build up in the joints. Symptoms of gout include inflammation along with severe pain and is most often present in the joint of the big toe but may also occur in the ankles, knees, hands and wrists.
Doctors determine whether a patient is suffering from gout by performing either a joint fluid test or blood test. The joint fluid test draws fluid from the joint to detect the presence of urate crystals, and the blood test measures the amount of uric acid in the patient's blood. If crystals or high levels of uric acid are present and the patient is suffering from severe joint pain, the doctor may determine the patient has gout and offer a gout treatment to manage the pain.
The most common form of gout treatment is medication. Medication is prescribed to treat gout attacks, prevent future attacks, and reduce the amount of uric acid which often triggers new gout attacks. The two main drug families used to treat gout attacks are nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine. The NSAIDs work by controlling inflammation and include over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. For patients who are allergic to NSAIDs, colchicine is often prescribed. It works as a pain reliever but does not have the anti-inflammatory benefits.
Corticosteriods is another medication used for gout treatment. The most popular corticosteriod is prednisone and it works to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. To prevent recurrence of gout, some patients are prescribed xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as Zyloprim or Aloprim. Both of these medications work by reducing the amount of uric acid the body produces. Probalan is another medication used for gout treatment but instead of reducing the amount of uric acid produced, Probalan helps flush the excess uric acid out of the body.
Diet modification in conjunction with medication, often helps reduce symptoms. As part of the gout treatment, doctors typically limit the amount of alcohol intake while increasing water intake to at least two liters per day. Reduction in meat intake is also required along with increasing consumption of low-fat dairy products and eggs. By keeping hydrated, the patient's kidneys are more efficient at flushing uric acid. Limiting the amount of high-fat proteins also helps the digestive system and does not put as much a strain on the kidneys.