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.
Pain in the joint which worsens over several hours
Red and shiny skin
Warmth over the affected joint
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.
3) If patients experience recurrent episodes within a year, they may need to start a medication called Allopurinol which helps reduce the urate level.
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%.
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
Food Which Can Help Gout
High levels of Vitamin C in the diet
Patients with raised uric acid levels are more likely to have
Type 2 Diabetes
High blood pressure