CentraCare rheumatologist solves puzzling medical case
From Spotlight on Health - Summer 2009
(Photo courtesy of Brainerd Dispatch)
Morrison County Chaplain Greggrey Valentine, 46, of Little Falls, has great empathy for people suffering with arthritis.
For two years, doctors treated him with a variety of medications and injections to try to help him tolerate the pain they thought was caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
“It was debilitating. There were mornings when I couldn’t even get out of bed to go to work,” Valentine said. “It got to the point where I had to use a wheel chair to get around some days.”
An injection in Spring 2007 to remove the fluid in his ankles revealed a high level of uric acid in his body. It was this finding that led to a referral for possible gout to Susan Leonard, MD, rheumatologist with CentraCare Clinic - River Campus in St. Cloud.
After initial testing and trying several different medications over several months to attempt to regulate Valentine’s uric acid levels, Leonard found a gout medication that made life a lot better for him.
“My case was puzzling -- she didn’t accept the initial findings, but kept digging to find the answers,” Valentine said. “I appreciated her diligence and compassion.”
Today, Valentine is feeling great, swimming three days a week and hasn’t experienced a flare-up of his gout for more than a year.
“Now, I look at every day as a gift, ”Valentine said.
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that can cause sudden burning pain, stiffness and swelling in a joint.
What are the symptoms?
Common signs of gout are nighttime attacks of swelling, tenderness, redness and sharp pain in the big toe. Gout also may affect feet, ankles or knees.
What causes gout?
Your chances of getting gout are higher if you are overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat too much meat. Some medicines, such as water pills, also can bring on gout.
Other conditions treated by rheumatologists:
Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis and other soft tissue rheumatic syndromes, lupus, Lyme disease and carpal tunnel syndrome.
For a rheumatology referral, contact your doctor.
Learn more about CentraCare Clinic Rheumatology