Gout

Learn More About Gout

Cause

Gout stems from an excess of uric acid within the blood. As the food is digested and old cells are broken down, a chemical called purine is released which is converted to uric acid. As the body becomes overloaded with uric acid, urate crystals begin to form in and around the joints.

Symptoms

Pain in the joint which worsens over several hours

Red and shiny skin

Possible swelling

Over-sensitive skin

Warmth over the affected joint

Possible fever

Treatment

Treatment comprises of  three main steps:

 

1)         Treat the Acute Episode

2)         Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Reduce the Risk of Recurrence

3)         Lower Uric Acid Levels

 

 

1)      Treatment of the acute episode is most often associated with the use of  Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication such as Naproxen or Colchicine.

Using an ice pack, elevating the joint and drinking lots of water can also help.

2)      Dietary changes are outlined below with guidance on reducing alcohol intake.

Reducing weight ( learn more about weight loss ), exercising regularly, stopping smoking ( learn more about smoking cessation ) can all help reduce the risk of recurrent episodes of gout.

3)      If patients experience recurrent episodes within a year, they may need to start a medication called Allopurinol which helps reduce the urate level.

 

Recurrence

The majority of patients who suffer an episode of gout will go on to experience a second attack between 6 and 24 months later.

Patients on diuretic medication, who are overweight, have high cholesterol and drink alcohol are all at a higher risk of developing recurring gout. Spirits such as wine do not increase the risk of gout but 2 bottles of beer a day increase the risk by 250%.

Diet

Avoiding purine-rich food will help reduce your uric acid level. The following foods have high levels of purine:

 

Some types of oily fish such as Mackerel, Herring and Sardines

Some types of meat such as venison and rabbit

Seafood such as mussels, crab and shrimps

Internal animal organs such as liver

 

Other foods which have moderate levels of purine and can be eaten in moderation include:

Common meats such as chicken, beef, duck and lamb

Vegetables such as spinach and cauliflower

Peas and beans such as baked beans and kidney beans

Wholemeal bread

Food Which Can Help Gout

High levels of Vitamin C in the diet

Cherry juice

 

General Health

Patients with raised uric acid levels are more likely to have

 

Obesity

Type 2 Diabetes

High blood pressure

High cholesterol

Kidney disease

Article written by Dr S Noorpuri
Disclaimer: This article is solely for information purposes. It is not to replace a consultation with a qualified health professional. It should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. The article is based on the opinions of the author who retains copyright. You are advised to make your own health decisions based on your research and alongside a qualified health professional. Please consult a doctor if you have any health concerns.

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