Gout prevention

Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. This is one of the most painful types of arthritis and is more common in men than in woman. It is very typical for gout to affect only a single joint. Very often the joint affected is the big toe although it can occur in other joints such as the ankle, foot, knee, wrist, hand or elbow. Gout can cause very intense pain with sudden onset. Warmth of the joint, redness, inflammation and swelling are also common. When the body accumulates an excessive amount of uric acid it causes the deposits of uric acid crystals to settle into the joints. Eating a diet high in purines usually causes a build up of uric acid in the body.

There are some things you can do to help prevent getting gout and gout attacks. For starters, it is important to avoid eating foods that are high in purines. Foods to avoid include anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, scallops, gravy, liver, kidney, game meat, brain and sweetbreads. It is important to consume only moderate amounts of protein from meat sources or avoid meat products altogether. Meat is very high in purines and should be limited. Other foods that are high in protein but low in purines are tofu, eggs and low-fat dairy products. Avoid fatty foods and foods such as beans, lentils, oatmeal, wheat bran, wheat germ and vegetables high in purines such as spinach, green peas, mushrooms, cauliflower and asparagus.

It is also important to limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Beer is especially important to avoid since it increases levels of uric acid. It is okay to have an alcohol drink once every couple days but avoid excessive drinking. Make sure to drink plenty of water a day. Drinking a lot of water helps to dilute the urinary uric acid.

Another way to avoid getting gout is to maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat can contribute to gout attacks. When a person becomes obese, the production of uric acid increases resulting in a much higher chance of having gout symptoms. If you are overweight you should work to lose extra weight to improve your overall health as well as lesson your chance for developing gout. Avoid the temptation to lose weight by following a low-carb/ high protein diet since that can make the gout worse or increase the risk of having a gout attack.

Gout is usually discovered when a person has sudden severe pain in a joint that is accompanied by red or purple colored skin and swelling. This can happen very quickly and often happens at night when a person is trying to sleep. Gout attacks can last any where from a few days to a couple weeks. If a person begins having gout attacks often it can result in joint damage. For this reason it is important to seek medical attention after the first gout symptom is discovered. See your doctor to discuss medications that may be used to help maintain a healthy uric acid level.

With proper diagnosis, medications and lifestyle modifications, gout can be managed successfully. If pain becomes too severe it is often necessary to take medications to help alleviate the discomfort. When you have a gout flare-up you should rest the joint. Bed rest may be the best option to help heal the joint quicker. Your doctor may also recommend icing the joint to help lesson the inflammation. Be sure to consult your physician to determine the right course of treatments for you.


Last updated on Jun 29th, 2009 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Gout prevention”

  1. Daniel says:

    Very informative article. As the old adage goes you are what you eat and over time all that we have put through our bodies starts catching up with us. Another good way to prevent gout is by drinking more water; as most people are dehydrated and do not even know it. Also eating foods that have a strong alkaline base will help balance the ph in your body.

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