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Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Gout is a problem that many kiwis experience, particularly in māori and pacific men over 40 years old. If left untreated, gout can cause serious damage to your joints, kidneys and quality of life - so it’s really important to see your doctor if you think you might have gout and receive treatment. The good news is, you can do this online in the comfort of your own home.

What is gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis (inflammation of a joint) that can affect toe, foot, ankle, knee, and elbow joint. Gout arthritis causes sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling in the joints, often experienced at first in the big toe, and is most common in men.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by increased levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of cells in your body, as well as chemicals called purines that are found in your food. It is your kidney’s job to filter uric acid in your blood and flush it out through urination.

However, when uric acid levels are too high and your kidneys are unable to remove the excess uric acid, small crystals can form in your joints. These crystals cause inflammation and swelling which can create an uncomfortable and painful experience.

There are a number of risk factors cited that can make a person more likely to get gout arthritis. Some of these include:

  • Obesity
  • High alcohol intake
  • A genetic predisposition
  • High intake of foods rich in purines (eg: some seafoods and meats)
  • Certain medicines eg: diuretics (fluid tablets)
  • Injury to a joint
  • Long-standing kidney disease

What are the symptoms of gout?

What does gout pain feel like?

The symptoms of gout can develop quickly, sometimes within 12 to 24 hours and can be periodic. If you’re experiencing a gout attack, you’re likely to feel:

  • Severe pain and tenderness in the affected joint. Usually, gout will affect one joint at a time, most commonly your upper toe
  • You might notice redness and swelling in the affected joint as well
  • The skin over the joint may feel hot and tight and may look shiny and red
  • Joints can become painful and stiff. Sometimes, this can be so tender that even the light pressure of bedding or a sock can cause discomfort.

A gout attack can last typically up to 10 days, but in severe cases can occur for weeks.

Who can get gout?

Gout is common in New Zealand, with an estimated prevalence of 2.7% for the overall population and a prevalence of 3.75% in people aged 20 years or older. While anyone can get gout, it commonly affects adult men (particularly after age 40) and is uncommon in women until after menopause. It is estimated to affect adult men 3.5-times more than women and is more common in people of Maori and Pacific Island ethnicity.

How is gout treated?

The good news is, with help from your doctor and lifestyle changes, the acute (right now) symptoms can be treated and long term prevention can be achieved.

  1. Diagnosis of gout: your doctor will diagnose gout based on your symptoms, and potentially blood tests showing high levels of uric acid or through a sample taken from a small needle put into your joint.

  2. Medication: If you’re diagnosed with gout, your doctor may prescribe you medication to reduce the pain you're experiencing. These can be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, or medication that helps to block the production of uric acid or corticosteroids (in tablet or injection form) to reduce pain and inflammation.

  3. Prevention: to help to make sure that gout doesn’t return once your symptoms subside, there are a number of steps you can take. These include:
    • diet changes restricting or avoiding foods high in purine (ie. red meat, shellfish, bread)
    • Limiting your alcohol intake, as alcohol causes the body to lose fluid (by increasing urine output and drawing water from the blood), thus increasing the uric acid levels in the blood.
    • Increasing your water intake daily to help flush out uric acid
    • Your doctor may choose to prescribe you urate-lowering medicines to help keep your uric acid level low.

What do I do if I have gout?

If you think you might have gout arthritis, rest until your symptoms improve, raise the inflamed joint and put an ice pack on it and do not exercise during an acute attack.

As soon as possible, make sure to book an appointment to see a doctor who can help you to treat gout. Gout is a condition that our online doctors at Bettr are able to treat. If you’d like to see a doctor about gout, book your online consultation below.

We offer same day appointments and online prescriptions. There’s no app to download, no need to change GP and no registration; just immediate healthcare wherever you are.

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Dominik, April 2022

Absolutely wonderful video call again from the doctor. Listened to my concerns and offered advice. Was very easy and the doctor was friendly. I was incredibly happy with his response and advice and put my mind at ease. Will most happily use again.

Donna, April 2022

The doctor was amazing. He was super friendly and incredibly understanding about my situation. Listened to me and offered good advice. He made me feel listened too right from the start and asked many questions to get the right picture. Would highly recommend and would happily use again.

Christine, February 2022

What an absolute pleasure it was talking to Dr Chaudhry. He is the best doctor we have dealt with in a very long time. Listened to our concerns gave great (clear) instructions. Didn’t make us feel like idiots or stupid. It is very rare for my daughter to say “he was a nice doctor” but today she did. Thank you for having such a great doctor on staff.

Gabriel, March 2022

The Doctor was amazing, listened to me, gave suggestions and overall a very professional experienced doctor. I am very happy with this appointment and looking forward to booking another one with him.

Sharmaine, March 2022

Awesome, fast and the doctor was awesome, the online prescription was a breeze to have delivered, thank you.

Yolanda, December 2021

Dr. Paul Hutchison was friendly and accommodating. I had a great experience during the online medical consultation because he was easy to talk to and he explained well my medical concerns. The online doctor service is a great practical way and very useful. It was easy, no waiting in line for more than 2 hours in clinic especially when I just need a repeat prescription and follow up checkup.

Sharon, February 2022

I would like to say thank you to the lovely Dr. Chowdhury for the amazing video consultation. He made me feel comfortable and at ease, more importantly he made me feel even happier knowing that he was super supportive. He went through a set of steps for me to do and it was lovely to be told what to expect and where I would be able to find a help etc. I loved this consultation so much. It was done in the comfort of my own home also. Will definitely use this next time!

Sommah, October 2021

First time seeing a Doctor online and absolutely loved it, especially for my son. At our usual Doctors we have to wait at least 2-2.5 hours, here we scheduled our appointment and it was on time. The Doctor that helped us was awesome, straight forward and asked proper questions. He was able to provide us with a prescription and it will be available at our pharmacy, so easy and fast, really appreciated this service.

Christine, February 2022

Awesome consultation. Doctor was friendly professional and immediately knowledgeable. I really feel he understood what I was feeling and how to start improving. Enjoyable morning Doctor service, thank you!

Louise, January 2022

The doctor was amazing. The instructions and information was clear it was a great online consultation. Great service. Great doctor. Thank you.

Brendan, August 2021

My Doctor was booked solid until late next week and then telephone only, so booked with Bettr. Clear and professional visual experience between Lower Hutt and Auckland, $49. How good. They have super-cheap rates if you join. By the time I got to my pharmacy the prescription was waiting.

Maryanne, August 2021

Wow had an awesome experience with the online doctor Antonio, thank you for the consultation. Dr Antonio was very warm and professional in his work. Good to know we can go online to book an appointment to get help without leaving home. Thank you Bettr Online Doctors you are much appreciated.

Viki, September 2021

Awesome! Online doctor service! Dr Kala was kind, patient and listened very carefully to my health concerns and prescribed medications. The fact that I can see a doctor virtually is absolutely perfect. Keep this service going for those that can't make it into a doctors clinics or don't want to, its priceless! Thank you so much!

Tania, November 2021

Awesome appointment this morning, the Doctor was friendly and very involved in our consultation - scheduled appointment was on time & all documents received promptly.

Cherrie, September 2021

This is my first time using Bettr and what an amazing online health service this is - user friendly, prompt, punctual, informative, reassuring. Thank you so much, I will definitely be recommending Bettr to my whaanau and friends. Continue with this amazing online service.

Donna, October 2021

My experience was very good. It is the first time I have used this option but I think it was great to speak to to doctor online and get what I needed. Getting the prescription and being able to send it on to the chemist and pick it up 30 minutes later was great.

Eddie, October 2021

I accidentally found your online doctor service I was absolutely delighted with the help and rapid results what a great service from a hard working team I thank you all for coming to my rescue.

Paratene, July 2021

This was my first time using the service and I found it to be state of the art, futuristic in how we go to the Doctors. It was an extremely user friendly process and their are a highly skilled, dedicated arsenal of Doctors on hand who care for each patient. I was quite daunted at first but having been through first hand, I can see the amazing benefits. Thank you so much team Bettr.

Heather, August 2021

Awesome access from our own home. Save me time going into the doctors and waiting for such a long long time. Thank you Doctor Smith. You really make a difference and you provided care and willingness to help. Thank you Bettr team for this awesome first time experience. I would recommend this service to everyone.

Lee, May 2021

I love how we can see a doctor online and get a prescription. So awesome. I really appreciate it, as I wasn't feeling well enough to go anywhere. But having your doctor online is amazing. Doctor Fazlus is the best. Thanks Bettr.

Tehei, August 2021

Awesome access from our own home. Saves me going into the doctors and also saves me time waiting too. Thank you for this service very convenient for a patient like me and a very prompt response and reminder for your appointment. Thank you so much Doctor Smith you make a difference and you provided care and willingness to help me and my daughter. Thank you Bettr team for this awesome first time experience.

Antoinette, April 2021

THIS IS THE BEST SERVICE! Absolutely love it for so many reasons. Too many to list but mainly because there's no more having to wait or stand to be seen by a nurse and then sometimes wait again to see a doctor. Waiting in the comfort of your own home means so much. Please ensure we NEVER LOSE THIS ONLINE DOCTOR SERVICE.

Anastasia, February 2021

What an awesome experience that was, no 2-4 hour waiting in a room with other sick people & noise. The Doctor provided great care & empathy. The whole process was amazing from the 5 minute notification to waiting in the virtual waiting room & choosing the pharmacy to send prescriptions to, it was a great experience. Thank you

Teresa, July 2021

Had 2 appointments for myself and my daughter and both doctors were absolutely helpful and amazing! Explained everything to them and they straight away gave me what I needed for a prescription. Thank you so much Bettr, will definitely be using you guys again.

Gerrard, March 2021

My experience was a seamless and professional. From online booking to payment. Got my reminder, both text and email. The Doctor was knowledgeable and had a great 'bed side' manner. I got my SMS to select a local pharmacy and got my medical certificate at the end of the consult. Brilliant, thank you.

Molly, August 2020

Just leaving some feedback to let you know the Telehealth appointment was awesome! Being a mum, it can be such a hassle to take my baby with me to my normal GP office! The video call was so handy, I even did it in my dressing gown! My doctor was very thorough and got to know me. I will be recommending it to friends and family!
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