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Polyarticular gout is a form of gout in which multiple joints are affected. Gout is an arthritic condition where painful crystal form around the joints in response to elevated uric acid levels in the blood and urine. Polyarticular gout is more often seen in older people, and the most commonly affected joints include the ankles, feet, elbows, wrists, and the hands.
The pain from gout is typically experienced on just one side of the body. This pain is most commonly noticed in the feet and lower legs. In contrast to those who have monoarticular gout, or gout in only one joint, people with polyarticular gout are more likely to enjoy longer periods of time between painful attacks, and the pain's onset is generally more gradual. This type of gout can also be accompanied by loss of appetite, fever, and general malaise.
Symptoms of gout include sudden and severe joint pain, inflammation, redness, and late night or morning onset of pain. Treatment for this type of gout may include taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, corticorsteroids, and a medication known as colchicine. Although non-prescription pain relievers may help mild gout attacks, prescription pain relievers may be needed to relieve severe pain and inflammation.
People who have polyarticular gout may have an elevated risk for hypertension. In fact, certain medications that are used in the treatment of high blood pressure may increase the risk for gout. Resting the affected joints and applying ice may help reduce pain and inflammation, as may splinting the painful joints.
Ice should never be directly applied to the skin without a barrier in between, however. Ice should be wrapped in a cloth, or placed in an ice bag. Application of heat may also help soothe the pain, however, it will do little to reduce inflammation.
Certain foods that are high in purine can contribute to gout. These include sardines, herring, anchovies, and spinach. In addition, cauliflower, dried beans, and brewer's yeast also contain purine. Avoiding alcoholic beverages and limiting fatty foods may help avert a gout attack, as might limiting the consumption of meat.
Gout can mimic other medical conditions, so when joint pain occurs, especially in the big toe, the health care provider can order diagnostic testing. Medical examinations to rule out polyarticular gout include blood and urine tests to determine levels of uric acid, a physical examination, a detailed oral history from the patient, and diagnostic x-rays.