When you’re in the grips of a gout flare, it can seem like the pain will never end. And when the pain flares at night, it can feel like you’re in a world of hurt all your own.
There’s no cure for gout. But some lifestyle changes can help reduce painful symptoms and prevent flares. Here’s what to know about how gout happens. Plus, how to get prescription gout treatment with an online consultation from Dr. B.
Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis, affecting almost 4% of the US population. It primarily affects joints like the big toe, knees or ankles—usually one at a time. It happens when levels of uric acid in the blood get too high—a condition called hyperuricemia.
The body produces uric acid to break down purines—a compound in all plants and meats. Rich foods like red meat, organ meat, game meat and certain kinds of seafood have especially high purine levels. When the body produces too much uric acid to break down these purines, the acid forms sharp urate crystals in the joints, causing painful flares.
Risk factors for developing gout include:
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis—not an autoimmune condition. Inflammatory arthritis happens when an overactive immune system causes symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
Autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and type 1 diabetes happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. Some types of arthritis—including rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis—fall into this category.
There is no cure for this painful condition. But some lifestyle changes can help people with gout minimize flares and symptoms long term.
To avoid gout flares, try:
Flares are over twice as likely to occur at night or early morning. Experts aren’t sure why this happens. But one theory suggests that lower nighttime body temperatures may encourage urate crystals to form.
Some ways to stop pain at night include staying hydrated, elevating the painful joint and applying a cold compress to soothe burning pain.
The worst symptoms usually happen during the first 12 to 24 hours. But if left untreated, the flare can last anywhere from three days to two weeks. The good news? The right treatment for gout can lower uric acid levels, reducing how often flares happen and their symptom severity.
Treating gout with over-the-counter and prescription medications can help reduce pain and prevent future flares.
A $15 online consultation with Dr. B can help you start an effective treatment plan online. After answering a few questions, we’ll connect you with a licensed provider to review your information. If applicable, they’ll send a prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. We’ll even help you secure the lowest medication cost at your local pharmacy—and send you a drug discount card to guarantee the price!
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