Senior Health: Understanding Gout

By Pete Lane, 9:00 am on

If you provide home care for an aging parent, you might have heard gout mentioned in passing at the doctor’s office but remain unclear on what exactly it is. Gout is a medical condition that causes severe pain and tenderness in joints. The condition is a type of arthritis that is especially common among the senior population. Gout is triggered by too much uric acid in a person’s blood, and when uric acid crystallizes, the crystals are deposited in joints, tissue, and tendons. If left untreated, gout can harm the areas where the crystals have deposited.

What Are the Symptoms of Gout?

When a senior has gout, symptoms typically occur suddenly and often happen at night. Some of the symptoms that accompany gout include:

  • Sever pain in the joints. Most of the time, gout is first present in the large joint of the big toe, but it can also occur in hands, feet, ankles, and knees.
  • Prolonged discomfort. When the intense pain in the joints decreases, there could be a lingering discomfort that lasts up to a few weeks.
  • Decreased range of motion.
  • Swollen, inflamed, and red joints.

If your senior loved one has a fever accompanied by joints that are hot and swollen, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

How Does Gout Impact Seniors?

Senior citizens are at an increased risk of developing gout, especially those who are overweight, drank or drink in excess, and consume large quantities of purine-rich food. Seniors usually develop gout in the feet, and it can easily become a chronic condition if left untreated. Family and professional caregivers can help by encouraging their senior loved one to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day, adjust his or her diet, and limit the use of alcohol and aspirin.

If your senior loved one needs help managing the symptoms of gout, consider an hourly or live-in caregiver who can prepare and cook healthful meals tailored to his or her dietary needs, ensure your loved one is staying hydrated, and monitor medication use.

Although we specialize in hourly and live-in care, we also offer specialized care services including dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care in Centennial. To learn more about our comprehensive care plans, reach out to Home Care Assistance at 303.957.3100 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.