What is gout? Gout is thought to be caused in most instances by a flaw in the way the body handles substances called “purines”. Purines are found in many common foods and are broken down into uric acid for excretion in the urine. In normal individuals, the kidneys excrete uric acid as quickly as it is formed.
In patients with gout, uric acid accumulates in the blood, causing intermittent attacks of severe pain in and around joints. Gout is four times more likely to occur in males than in females and authorities believe that gout is inherited. Gout is most likely to occur in the ear lobe or the large toe.
What Triggers An Attack?
Many Factors Can Provoke Symptoms:
- Over eating
- Emotional and psychological problems
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Avoid foods with high levels of purines
- Avoid fatty foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Maintain a normal weight
The inflamed areas become swollen, red, warm and extremely tender. Pain often starts at night and worsens hourly. The big toe is commonly affected.
How Long Does An Attack Last?
Initially, an attack may last just a few days and if untreated, attacks may persist for several weeks.
Do Joints Stay Swollen?
No! The joints will return to normal function and mobility will return.
Where Does Uric Acid Come From?
Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines. Purines are found naturally in our bodies and our food, particularly those foods high in animal protein.
Purine Content Of Foods:
High Content Of Purine (Persons with gout, should avoid these foods):
- Mince meats
- Organ meats
- Sweet breads
- Meat extracts
Medium Content Of Purine (During crisis periods, persons with gout should limit these foods):
Do I Have To Stop Eating All These Foods?
NO! Drugs available today are so effective in reducing blood uric acid levels that rigid restriction of the purine content of your diet is usually unnecessary.
Low Content Of Purine
- White bread
- Corn bread
- Soft drinks
Vegetables (those not listed in other categories)
Reducing The Risks
Are There Special Things I Should Do?
Reduce Your Fat Intake!
Fats reduce uric acid excretion. Eating less fat also helps reduce calories.
Avoid Or Reduce Alcohol!
Alcohol also causes the kidneys to hold onto uric acid.
Eat Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables!
These are high in carbohydrates which helps the body get rid of uric acid.
Increase Water/ Fluid Intake!
Drinking water dilutes the purines, reducing the risk of kidney stones. In an acute gout attack, this could mean drinking as much as 2 to 3 litres per day (9-13 cups)