Arthritis can be painful, and when you’re in pain, it can be difficult to do many types of work, especially those that require physical activity. Gout is an especially painful form of arthritis that can make it difficult to stand, walk, or even just sit still with any kind of weight placed on the affected joint. Anyone who has been struggling with gout should find out more about the disability benefits that they might be able to get through the Social Security Administration because of their gout.
What Is Gout?
There are hundreds of types of arthritis, and gout is a common type that often appears as sudden attacks. Gout occurs when urate crystals collect in a join, which cause sudden pain. The urate crystals cause inflammation, which causes the pain.
Uric acid can build up when your body isn’t correctly filtering them out. Uric acid is supposed to be filtered out through the kidneys and passed through the urine, but if the body is making too much uric acid or the kidneys just can’t filter enough of it in the urine, people can experience gout.
There are some types of food that promote high levels of uric acid. For instance, red meats and organ meats and seafood high in purine, including sardines, anchovies, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna can cause higher levels of uric acid. Additionally, alcoholic beverages and sweetened fruit drinks can cause uric acid levels to spike.
Eating the foods mentioned above increase the risk of developing gout as does being overweight. But there are some other risk factors, such as medical conditions like diabetes, kidney diseases, and heart diseases.
Medicines like aspirin, beta blockers, thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and anti-rejection medications for after an organ transplant can all increase uric acid.
Men are more likely to develop gout because uric acid is higher in men than in women, but women’s uric acid levels increase to that of men’s after women reach menopause. Finally, a family history of gout and a recent surgery or trauma can also increase the risk of developing gout.
Symptoms of Gout
Gout can be very painful, and it can cause a few different types of symptoms. For instance, one of the most common types of symptoms is swelling and tenderness as the joint becomes inflamed. Warmth and redness are also quite common as is stiffness in the affected joint, which is caused by the inflammation and swelling.
There are a few places that inflammation is most likely to occur, including the big toe, which is one of the most common sites of a gout infection. But it’s also possible for people to experience gout symptoms in other joints, such as the elbows, knees, fingers, ankles, and wrists.
The pain is usually the most severe in the first 4 to 12 hours after the attack initially starts, but the symptoms can linger for several days to a couple of weeks after the most severe point of the pain attack.
The attacks can either be chronic or acute, and chronic attacks are much more difficult to treat than acute attacks, which only happen sporadically. Chronic gout much more often leads to deformities of the affected joints than acute gout does. Additionally, the longer a person has gout, the less range of motion a person is likely to have.
Along with regular symptoms that go with a gout attack, there are other symptoms and complications that a person who has a gout attack is more likely to experience. For instance, they’re more likely to have kidney stones.
Treatments for Gout
When someone has a gout attack, there are some medications that are used to reduce the pain and inflammation. For instance, something as simple as NSAIDs, such as nopraxen-sodium and ibuprofen, can reduce the pain and inflammation. Additionally, some doctors might prescribe more powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, including indomethacin and celecoxib. Colchicine and corticosteroids can also reduce inflammation and pain.
Some people who are chronically getting gout attacks might also need medications to lower the amount of uric acid that the body produces. For instance, one of the most common types of medications that can reduce the uric acid in the body is allopurinol, and another kind is febuxostat. A doctor might also prescribe a drug to help the kidneys remove more of the uric acid. For instance, some people might benefit from probenecid, which is a drug that works on the kidneys to help them remove more uric acid. These types of drugs might be especially needed if the person has been experiencing other complications related to a higher level of uric acid, such as kidney stones and tophi.
Prednisone is a steroid that is often used to treat gout because it can help reduce the inflammation. In fact, prednisone is commonly used to treat a wide variety of types of arthritis.
Some at-home, lifestyle changes can also be helpful to people. For instance, simply changing eating habits can help some people keep their uric acid levels down. Exercising regularly and losing weight is also helpful because lower body weight leads to lower uric acid levels.
Disability Benefits for Gout
While attacks can be extremely painful and can make it near impossible to work for short periods of time, gout attacks can also be difficult to get disability benefits because people must meet certain durational requirements in order to be eligible for disability benefits. Generally, any disability, including gout, must last at least 12 months or be expected to last at least 12 months. Because a gout attack is usually cleared up in a few weeks, it can be difficult to meet the listing. Additionally, because many gout attacks can be avoided with lifestyle changes and medications, it’s even less likely that a person will meet the listing.
Anyone who thinks that they might meet the listing for gout should look at this list of criteria. For instance, the applicant must meet with a rheumatologist to be diagnosed. Additionally, they must have chronic inflammation or a deformity in at least one major weight-bearing join, such as a knee or ankle. Additionally, they need to have an inability to walk because of this. Otherwise, having gout in one of the joints in the arms, such as the shoulder, wrist, or hand will also meet the requirements. The gout in the upper-body joint must interfere with the person’s ability to manage themselves and do everyday tasks, such as tying shoelaces, doing hygiene tasks, holding a pen, cooking, or sorting papers.
If a person doesn’t meet the requirements for gout, they might still be able to meet the listing using the residual functional capacity test. With this option, the SSA will look at the applicant’s limitations and compare them with the jobs that they’ve done in the past to determine whether or not there’s any work that’s available to them.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Gout, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.