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Hannah asked...

Tags: arthritis , joint

What can be done for gout please and also arthritis in the fingers which have now become misshapen?

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The Answer

Gout is a condition that causes joints to become periodically red, hot and swollen and is caused by raised uric acid levels in the blood stream. Uric acid is a normal waste product of metabolism but if levels become too high this substance crystallises in the joints which is very painful. It tends to occur in one or two joints at a time and commonly affects the foot, ankle, wrists and hands but can affect other larger joints too. Dehydration, excess alcohol consumption and a diet high in purine rich foods such as shellfish are factors which may increase the chance of having a gout attack in those who are susceptible. Avoiding dehydration through drinking plenty of clear fluids will help reduce the chance of gout attacks but for those who still get frequent attacks then the use of prescription medications such as colchicine or allopurinol are effective in reducing the severity and frequency of attacks.  Misshapen fingers are likely to be partly due to arthritic changes but gout can also leave deposits around the joints.

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