A Five-Minute Guide to Managing and Preventing Gout
Gout has been called the disease of kings because many associate with overindulging in foods and beverages rich. Gout is a form of arthritis that affects more than 2 million Americans. Unfortunately, the incidence of this disease is increasing as the population of many countries grow older and heavier.
Although gout is a complex disease that can affect anyone, there are many effective medications and treatments available today. Use this quick guide to educate yourself about gout and keep your joints healthy.
Facts About Gout
- Learn the definition. Gout occurs when too much uric acid builds up in your blood. The uric acid hardens in crystals that cause inflammation in your joints. The most common causes of gout are being overweight and consuming too much alcohol and animal foods that contain high levels of substances called purines.
2. Spot the symptoms. Gout often appears at night. Your big toe may ache, feel tender, and turn red. Gout can also affect other joints, such as knees and ankles.
Managing and Preventing Gout
- Ask for a diagnosis. Simple tests can measure the amount of uric acid in the blood or fluid around your joints. Your doctor will also monitor your symptoms to determine if you need treatment, as many people have high levels of uric acid without experiencing any adverse effects.
2. Treat acute flare-ups. Immediate treatment can stop most gout attacks in less than a day. Treatment may include injections of steroids, other drugs, and rest for the affected joint.
3. Receiving long-term care. It is important to remember that joint deterioration may continue even when you are free of visible symptoms. Chronic gout can also affect your kidneys. Your doctor may recommend a course of treatment.
4. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol aggravates gout, particularly in the case of beer, which is full of purine chemicals. Liquor is another culprit. There is conflicting evidence on the effects of the wine, but recent studies have shown it can also contribute to flare-ups.
5. Cut back on soda. Fructose sweetened drinks may also trigger the onset of gout. Water is a better choice because it helps your kidneys flush out uric acid.
6. Losing weight. sensible weight loss is essential to treat gout. Crash diets that do not provide enough calories can trigger your body to produce uric acid. Rely on regular exercise and nutrient dense foods instead.
7. Change your diet. Thanks to modern medicine, most gout patients no longer have to bear a very limited diet. However, it’s a good idea to get most of your calories from fruits and vegetables. Eat healthy fats and cut back on foods high in purines, such as red meat and seafood.
8. Take your prescriptions. Your doctor may suggest increasing doses of drugs that reduce uric acid levels. You can also talk with your doctor about alternatives to medications that can trigger seizures, such as aspirin and diuretics.
9. Prepare for medical stress. The stress associated with medical interventions can also aggravate gout. Let your doctor know about any conditions you have when you’re having surgery or undergoing any major medical procedure.
Experts estimate that 9 out of 10 people may find effective relief of gout by appropriate medications and changes in lifestyle. Discuss with your doctor your individual concerns. A healthy diet and proper treatment can protect your joints and keep you without discomfort.
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