A Guide to Managing Gout
Naturally, no one ever wants to experience joint pain. For many individuals, though, arthritis is considered to be an inevitable condition that happen as human age. While the risk of arthritis does increase during later years in life, arthritic conditions can actually strike individuals at any age. Gout is one example. This form of arthritis develops on account of the body’s digestion of certain foods and beverages. Understanding the condition will help you know what steps you can take to prevent gout and the pain that comes with it.
Gout Signs and Symptoms
This is a complicated form of arthritis that causes tenderness, redness, and severe, sudden attacks of pain (gout flares). These are most likely to occur in the joint where the big toe connects to the base of the foot. Attacks usually have a sudden onset and tend to happen in the middle of the night. The pain can be such that it feels as though the big toe is on fire. Any pressure or weight on the area (even a light bedsheet) can be rather unbearable.
Causes of Gout
As opposed to other types of arthritis, this arthritic condition happens when a byproduct of food breakdown is not properly flushed out of the system. When food is broken down, uric acid is the resulting byproduct.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering the excess out of the body via urine, but this doesn’t happen correctly for some people. Other people have bodies that produce too much uric acid. Either way, excess uric acid builds up in joints and form urate crystals, which are the cause of the sharp, stabbing pain.
Foods that can result in excess uric acid production contain more purines and include foods like organ meats, steak, and seafood. Other examples are refined carbohydrates, sweets, fructose, and alcohol (especially beer).
Fortunately, gout is treatable. When we administer professional treatment at our Texas offices, medication is often an important component that serves to both treat and prevent acute attacks. Examples of types that help include those that improve uric acid removal, various pain relievers, and medication to block or decrease uric acid production.
With regard to home treatment for gout, dietary and lifestyle changes can help as well. These include:
- Limiting intake of high-purine foods like seafood, red meat, and organ meats.
- Limiting or avoiding alcoholic and sugary beverages, opting instead for water.
- Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
Preventing a Gouty Arthritic Condition
Although treatment methods can be effective for symptoms, it is better to take measures to prevent gout from developing in the first place. These measures include:
- Limit daily intake of fish, meat, and poultry. Small amounts of these proteins sources might be okay, but check with us to find out quantities and types that work best for you.
- Avoid, or at least limit, alcohol use. We can discuss together if any alcohol is safe for you, but it is worth noting that beer, in particular, has been linked to increased risk of gout symptoms.
- Practice clean eating. Center your diet on foods that are unprocessed. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy should form the basis of a dietary plan that reduces your risk of gout and helps you feel great. Our staff can further help you put together the foundation of a diet that will keep gout away, while also contributing to your overall wellness.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying well-hydrated, especially by drinking water, will help to properly flush out uric acid. Keep the amount of drinks sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup to a minimum as well.
- Maintain a healthy bodyweight. Applying the above measures can actually help with this goal as well. Losing weight can help promote decreased levels of uric acid in the body. However, avoid rapid weight loss or fasting, since these activities can actually raise uric acid levels.
Expert Treatment for Arthritic Foot Conditions in Dallas, TX
We can provide additional information on how to prevent gout, but don’t forget that Dallas Podiatry Works is here to help when this condition is causing pain. Our Dallas and Plano, TX practice places you in the best possible position for optimal health. Contact us by calling toll-free (888) 716-5283, or use our online form to schedule your appointment today.