Share This Post: helping all our gout-struck friends out there with ten useful tips, with Renzie Baluyut.
Having gout is no laughing matter. I have gout myself, which means an occasional flare-up every several months, if I’m careless.
For those of you who have no idea what gout is, it’s actually a form of arthritis, and it happens when you have particularly high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream.
Let’s put on our geek hat for now: when this happens, crystals (made of either monosodium urate or uric acid) are deposited on or around the joint structure- specifically on the articular cartilage of the joints, but it also accumulates on tendons and surrounding tissue.
When you have gout, you get these sharp, sudden and excruciatingly painful attacks of acute arthritis. There’s also going to be swelling, redness, warmth and stiffness- typical inflammation symptoms, but a bitch nevertheless. Usually, this will happen on your big toe, but in some cases, it can happen on the ankle, the heel, instep, even the knee, wrist, elbows, fingers or spine. Yikes!
So what do you do when you have gout? You will want to accomplish three things, essentially:
- get some pain relief
- prevent the attacks from happening in the first place
- and reduce your uric acid levels.
For those of you who are suffering from the occasional bout of gout, just like me, here are ten tips to help you deal with your gout, so you can live your life a lot easier.
Ten Tips For Those Grimacing in Gout.
Gouty arthritis, while excruciatingly painful, is actually fairly easy to manage. Your uric acid levels re pretty much the main thing to consider– and therefore monitor- when you have gout. The main goal is to keep the uric acid levels manageable by eating the right foods, and by excreting it.
1. You’ll never know when gout will strike, even with your best efforts to prevent it from ever happening. Always keep a ready stock of pain-killers. Personally, I have a stash of Advil (Ibuprofen) as well as Alleve or Flanax (Naproxen)– both being effective pain-killers for those with gout. It’s best you consult with a physician, however. So go get your painkillers after you’ve checked in with your doctor.
2. A 2009 study has established that Vitamin C prevented outbreaks of gout. A daily Vitamin C intake of 1,500 milligrams or higher significantly reduces the risk of gout. So load up on citrus fruits and your supplements.
3. A 2004 study also established that dairy products such as milk and cheese significantly reduced the chances of gout. Me, I got lactose intolerance after not having had milk for so long, but you can build up your tolerance back up slowly, and I totally intend to do just that.
4. Generally you have to reduce your intake of purine-rich foods, and these can be found in red meat and seafood. You’ll want to limit food high in protein such as meat, fish, poultry, or tofu to 8 ounces (226 grams) a day. Avoid, or eat at your own risk: sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, brains, or other offal meats, as well as sardines and anchovies, and certain seafood like shellfish and crustaceans.
5. A study on soft drinks and fructose consumption shows that men who consume two or more sugary soft drinks a day have an 85% higher risk of gout compared with those who drink less than one a month. The key ingredient to avoid here: high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Remember you can also find HFCS in fruit preserves, jams, jelly, syrups and candy- so take it easy on these, and watch the labels.
6. Consumption of beer is associated with a 49% increase in relative risk per daily 12 oz (354 ml) serving. However, the consumption of spirits was associated with only a 15% increase in relative risk, and no association at all was found with consumption of wine. So- go ahead with the wine, take it easy on the spirits, and avoid beer altogether.
7. Tart cherry juice or tart cherry capsules are believed to help dissolve the needle-like crystals that deposit themselves between the joints and connective tissue. Me, I like keeping a bottle of cherry juice in the fridge just in case I feel an attack coming up.
8. More food to avoid: asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, as well as dry beans like lentils and peas.
9. Never underestimate the power of your 8 glasses of water a day. You’ll want to drink lots of water to help dilute and assist the excretion of urates.
10. Take it easy on the use of diuretics, including aspirin, tea and alcohol. The goal is to keep yourself hydrated, so replenish your fluids with water as soon as you can.
So there you have it. I hope this guide helps you out, as it is helping me. If you have a tip that you think helps you when you have gout, I’d sure love to hear it, and others out there with gout will want to hear it too.
Some of the information on this post was from Wikipedia, as is the picture of “The Gout” by James Gillray.