Causes and Treatments for Gout
Gout is a painful swelling of the joints similar to arthritis. It is an abnormality that occurs when the body produces too much uric acid in the bloodstream (also known as hyperuricemia). When this happens, the uric acid crystallizes causing inflammation to develop around the joints in the ankles, heels, and toes, and it can also affect the knees, elbows and joints in the hands. This joint pain is usually associated with a red swelling that becomes tender and painful within hours of symptoms; the pain generally last for about two weeks. If left untreated, gout can become a chronic issue where the uric acid forms hard lump deposits around the joints. This could cause permanent damage to the joints and lead to the development of kidney stones and kidney failure over time.
This disorder approximately affects 8.3 million Americans every year and about three to four percent of those affected are African American. According to WebMD gout is generally more prominent amongst men from the ages of 30-50 and in women after menopause. Some contributing factors to gout are high blood pressure, weight gain, and family history. Diet is also one of the leading causes of gout. Purine is a chemical compound found in certain foods and drinks that can increase the uric acid levels in the body. For those individuals whose bodies are more prone to producing higher levels of uric acid, it is a good idea to know which foods contain high to moderate levels of purine. Below is a list of some of the top foods and drinks to avoid if you have gout.
- Meats: turkey, goose, bacon, lamb, pork, red meats, game meats and organ meats.
- Seafood: shellfish, sardines, scallops, anchovies, herring, mussels, and mackerel.
- Beer, hard alcohol, wine, caffeine, and sugary drinks.
- Fried foods
- Carbohydrates: sugar, white bread, white rice, and pasta.
- Processed foods
- Vegetables: asparagus, dried beans, cauliflower, spinach, lentils, and mushrooms.
The exact cause of gout, and why some people have hyperuricemia is still unknown to the medical world. Unfortunately, there is no cure for gout, but there are remedies to reduce or shorten the length of attacks. Diet change, exercise, and medication could reduce the flare ups.
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