What you need to know:
- Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels in the blood.
- Gout patients experience stiffness, intense joint pain, swelling, and redness.
- Certain foods trigger gout symptoms by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood.
If you are one of the millions of people around the world who suffer from gout, then you know how painful and debilitating this condition can be.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that is created when the body breaks down purines. Unfortunately, purines are found in many foods, so it can be difficult to avoid them.
Gout patients experience stiffness, intense joint pain, swelling, and redness. The symptoms can come on suddenly and can last for days or weeks.
Certain foods trigger gout symptoms by increasing the levels of uric acid in the blood. These foods include
- Organ meats
- Yeast products
- Foods that are high in fructose such as ice cream, and fast foods.
If you suffer from gout, there are several things you can do to improve your symptoms
- Rest and elevate the affected joint
- Apply ice to the joint for 20 minutes at a time
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- Talk to your doctor about the prescription medication
There are also things that you can do to prevent gout from occurring.
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Avoid eating foods that are high in purines
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
Diagnosing and treating gout
- Blood test- to measure the level of uric acid
- Joint fluid test- to check for urate crystals
- X-ray- to rule out other causes of joint pain
Once the gout is diagnosed, the treatment will focus on two main goals. The first goal is to relieve pain and swelling of the joints. The second goal is to lower the level of uric acid in the blood, therefore preventing gout complications.
Gout treatment medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These medications work to prevent inflammation and pain.
Medications to lower uric acid levels
In order to prevent gout attacks, lower uric acid levels in the blood. This can be done with medications such as:
These medications must be prescribed by a doctor.
In addition to drugs, diet and lifestyle changes can prevent gout attacks.
Foods that are low in purines can help reduce uric acid levels in the blood and prevent gout attacks.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, and turkey
- Low-fat dairy products
- Whole grains
- Plant oils such as avocado
- Beans and lentils
- Water and coffee
- Nuts such as almonds and peanuts