What is Gout?

Gout is a pesky type of arthritis caused by uric acid building up in the blood and resulting in joint inflammation. It can cause painful arthritic attacks and produce deposits of uric acid crystals within the body tissues.

Characterised by reoccurring attacks of pain, swelling and redness, Gout can be an extremely painful ordeal. It usually affects joints in the feet or ankles, so much so that even the weight of a bed sheet can be extremely painful. It’s not limited to the feet however and can affect knees and hands aswell. Unlike other types of arthritis, gout attacks can happen suddenly, often overnight.

Joints affected by Gout usually appear warm and red, they are extremely tender and you might develop a fever. Usually the attack goes away in a few days, but it may return from time to time. After the first attack of Gout, people will have no symptoms. Half of Gout patients have another attack later in life.

Considered a chronic and progressive disease Gout is known not only to destroy joints, but also decrease kidney function, leading to failure.

If you’re worried about Gout or you think you might have it there are a number of tests you can take. Blood tests or x-rays are most common, revealing the level of uric acid or the crystal deposits. A more extreme test is a Synovial biopsy. Not everyone with a high Uric acid level has Gout.

Fortunately, Gout has been around for a while, being one of the most historically recorded conditions to date. As a result there are many ways to treat and avoid painful Gouty attacks.

By avoiding certain food triggers and taking advantage of medication options you can reduce the pain and frustration that comes along with severe cases of Gout. Keep in mind that while treatment exists, therapy should be tailored to every individual.

Changing your diet can help prevent Gout attacks. By simply changing your diet you can help reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood.

Since it is purine chemicals from food that are converted by the body into uric acid, purine-rich foods should be reduced. Anchovies, sardines, oils, organ meats (liver and sweetbreads), legumes, and gravies are all included.

Gout is all about the meat. By limiting the amount of meat you eat at every meal and avoiding fatty foods such as fried food, ice cream and salad dressing can make a big difference.

If you are trying to lose weight, lose it slowly. Rapid weight loss may cause uric acid kidney stones to form.
Remember to keep hydrated, drinking plenty of water and work closely with a health professional to help manage and prevent more attacks.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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