Gout attacks are unpredictable. But, even though you can’t perfectly forecast the onset of symptoms, you can be prepared to tackle them head on with a few simple steps.

Gout Action Plan

1. Take an anti-inflammatory medication right away. Decreasing the inflammation around the joint is key to ending the gout attack and lessening the pain.

Common prescription medications include colchicine, indomethacin, naproxen, prednisone, and triamcinolone. If you’re having an attack and don’t have a prescription, call you doctor right away to discuss your options. The doctor may even recommend over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve.

2. Wrap a bag of ice or a cold compress in a towel and apply it to the site of the gout attack. Use the ice for 20-minute periods several times during the day. This will help to reduce the swelling and ease the pain.

3. Rest and elevate the joint above heart-level.

4. Work with your doctor and other medical professionals to create a plan to prevent future gout attacks.

A gout attack typically lasts three to 10 days with the worst pain occurring in the first 36 hours. If your gout attack isn’t getting better or your symptoms worsen, it could be a sign of infection. If this happens, be sure to contact your doctor.

Gout Prevention Plan

1. Analyze your lifestyle. 

Are you overweight? Are you overindulging in high-purine foods? Are you drinking the right kind of fluids? All of these factors could lead to more frequent gout attacks.

Remember, small changes can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help in adjusting your lifestyle. A nutritionist may be able to help, too.

2. Discuss prescription medications with your doctor.

Many patients need the help of a prescription medication in order to lower their uric acid levels. The goal is to decrease uric acid levels in the blood to less than 6 mg/ dL.

Ask your doctor about commonly prescribed medications such as allopurinol, colchicine, probenecid, or febuxostat.

Before you start taking these medications, it’s important to know that they may actually trigger gout attacks in the beginning. As the medication starts to decrease uric acid, the crystallized acid already in the joints may shift and cause an attack. This is normal and staying on the medication, despite these attacks, is very important for gout sufferers.

Which treatment and prevention methods work best for you? 

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