After being diagnosed with arthritis, I became used to dealing with moderate pain and stiffness in my joints. One day, the pain became unbearable, and a trip to the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City revealed I had a gout flare-up in my wrist. It was the first day I ever said the word gout, but from that day forward I was determined to learn about this type of arthritis, and why I was now living in fear of the excruciating pain I experienced. What I quickly learned was gout is manageable, and flare-ups can often be avoided.
The doctor who treated me gave me an oral medication called Colchicine, which began to relieve the pain immediately. He also drew blood and ordered a urinalysis to check the uric acid levels in my body. Listening to the explanations provided by the doctor and nursing staff was almost impossible until the pain subsided. I consider myself a manly man, after enduring years of sports injuries and military service, but the pain associated with gouty arthritis was the worst I had ever experienced.
I was informed that people with arthritis often suffer gout flare-ups, when the body has too much uric acid. I was asked about my recent food intake and told while there is no certain cause of gout attacks. Mine was most likely caused by eating too much red meat and drinking too many sugary drinks. I was also told the condition could occur on rare occasions, known as acute gout or could develop into regular occurrences, known as chronic gout, or gouty arthritis .
Living in fear of another gout attack led me to educate myself on how to prevent it. I quickly lowered my intake of red meats and sugary drinks. I made a point of getting more active by joining a gym, which led to weight loss, also recommended. I was told at the hospital excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to gout flare-ups, but I didn’t have an issue there, as I quit drinking many years before the first flare-up. Over the next few years I had one or two flare-ups, which were exactly like the first, except my left big toe and other wrist joined the party. Because of my diagnosis of arthritis, I was already taking a daily regimen of a non-steroidal ant-inflammatory, called Etodolac. My doctor increased my daily dosage, and with the other lifestyle changes, my gout flare-ups have been few and far between in the last 3 to 5 years.
Anyone who lives with arthritis can describe the joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that often occurs. If the person has experienced gout, they can easily distinguish the elevated level of pain associated with it. I personally do not spend much time worrying about gout anymore, because the advice I received from medical experts and other gout sufferers worked, and my flare-ups are almost non-existent.