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Gout Treatment

What is gout? Gout is a type of arthritis. It is caused by the buildup of uric acid in your joints. It can affect the foot, heel, ankle, elbow, wrist or hand. Most often though, it affects the big toe. Gout is a reoccurring problem that comes and goes. It usually comes on without warning, and then goes away after 7-10 days.


Other high levels of purines can be found in fish like herring, and mackerel, and some dry beans are also troublesome. Other meats are not as bad, but they still have higher numbers of purines. It is a good idea to limit meat, fish, and poultry foods to about six ounces a day.


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 When it comes to drinking alcohol your best bet is to drink in moderation, and you may feel the best when avoiding alcoholic beverages completely. Abstinence is essential when a gout attack is ongoing, as alcohol can slow the release of uric acid from the body.

Beneficial Dietary Supplements: * Bromelain reduces inflammation in joints and improves digestion of proteins when taken with meals, * Vitamin B Complex aids digestion and supports the body's enzyme systems.

Take a nonprescription anti-inflammatory. Inflammation causes swelling, which worsens pain. Both ibuprofen and aspirin are anti-inflammatory, but when taken at low levels, aspirin may actually make the pain worse, so reach for the ibuprofen when treating gout.

To stop a gout attack quickly, your doctor can prescribe a large daily dose of one or more medicines. The doses will get smaller as your symptoms go away. Relief from a gout attack often begins within 24 hours if you start treatment right away.

Gout Symptoms The most common gout symptom is sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling in some joints. It usually affects one joint at a time, especially the joint of the big toe, but can also affect the knee, ankle, foot, hand, wrist and elbow. Deposits of uric acid, called tophi, can appear as lumps under the skin around the joints and at the rim of the ear. In addition, uric acid crystals can also collect in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.

Treatment Doctors can prescribe several drugs. These drugs work to decrease the amount of uric acid in joints. This helps to reduce the symptoms and frequency of attacks. If not treated, serious permanent damage can occur. This can lead to permanent disability.

Apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas (both wrapped in a towel) to the joint for 20 minutes to help reduce the swelling, and then take it off. You should not apply ice directly to your skin as it can give you an 'ice burn'. You can reapply the ice pack after the temperature of the joint has returned to normal.

Diagnosing gout A physician can usually diagnose gout very easily. A physical examination as well as certain tests are used to measure the amount of uric acid in the blood. Sometimes a sample of fluid is taken from the joints and tested for the presence of urate crystals.

Who gets gout Although it is sometimes referred to as "rich mans disease", anyone can get it. About 5% of all cases of arthritis are actually gout. It is much more common in men than women, and usually develops in men in their late 30's or early 40's. Women usually develop gout later in life, in their 50's or 60's. Medical experts believe that estrogen protects women against hyperuricemia. During menopause when estrogen levels decrease, women lost this protection and uric crystals can start to accumulate in joints.

Treatments include anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids. These medications can help alleviate symptoms in as little as a week. Before taking any medications for gout, you need to discuss the potential side effects with your doctor. Certain medications can cause severe gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects.

Though gout treatment is most often treated successfully and without complications, it becomes more of a challenge if other conditions exist along with gout or if there is poor patient compliance to recommended lifestyle changes or a medication regimen.

The diet will help, and when medication is taken as directed, someone with gout might enjoy long periods of 'remission' before they have to deal with the pain and flare ups that are associated with this condition.

To prevent future attacks, your doctor can prescribe a medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in your blood. Changing the way you eat can help you conduct your gout. Eat a healthy mix of foods so you get the nutrients you need. Limit foods like meat, fish, and beer. Drink plenty of water and other fluids.Life style changes such as limiting alcohol consumption, and limiting meals with meats and fish rich in purines can also be helpful in controlling gout. Weight loss may be very important this condition. You should also avoid certain animal proteins, such as: seafood; liver; kidney; heart; gizzard; sweetbreads; meat extracts; and gravy.

Diet and gout Most often, your diet will determine if you get gout. However, heredity is also a factor. About 18% of people with gout find that it runs in their families.

4. Fish: Though some types of fish are out, a person on a gout diet can still have tuna and salmon. Both of these are very versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways.

What causes gout? Uric acid is naturally produced by the liver, and is found in the blood stream. Uric acid is a by-product of certain products, especially those containing purine. Foods that are known to contain large concentrations of purine include: sardines, anchovies, liver, brains, dried peas and beans.

Life style changes such as weight control, limiting alcohol consumption, and limiting meals with meats and fish rich in purines can also be helpful in controlling gout.

One great thing about concocting a gout friendly diet is that medications help more than ever, and the diet does not have to be quite as restrictive as they used to be. However, that does not mean a person can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, without risking a flare up.

Avoid or restrict foods high in purine (a substance that produces uric acid when broken down). These foods include: sardines, anchovies, brains, liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, tongue, shellfish (mussels and oysters), fish roe, scallops, peas, lentils, beans and an excessive amount of red meat.

5. Caffeine: A gout prevention diet does not have to exclude coffee and tea. Carbonated beverages are okay as well, but go for the sugar-free if recommended by a doctor. If caffeine turns out to be a problem for you opt for decaf instead.

Diagnosis A definitive diagnosis of gout is from light microscopy of fluid aspirated from the joints (this test may be difficult to perform) to demonstrate intracellular monosodium urate crystals in synovial fluid polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The urate crystal is identified by strong negative birefringence under polarised microscopy and its needle-like morphology. A trained observer does better in distinguishing them from other crystals.

Symptoms of gout The main symptom of gout is severe pain. If the gout is in the feet, it can be so severe that the sufferer cannot stand. Inflamed skin around the joint can be red and shiny, and over the course of time can get worse. Over the course of time, the frequency of attacks will increase, and the attacks will last longer. If left untreated, more and more joints will be effected and stone-like deposits can build up in the joints. This is known as tophi, and can lead to permanent disability.

Here are five tips to keep a gout diet fun: 1. Enjoy color: Keep your diet fun and interesting by keeping it colorful. Foods like tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, fruit juices, tangerines, potatoes, oranges, and peppers.

 
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The most basic point of any good gout prevention diet is to reduce gout symptoms. This is achieved by lowering the levels of purine rich foods in the diet as these often trigger gout by raising the amount of uric acid in the blood, which in turn makes the pain worse.

Steroid medications, such as the drug prednisone may control gout inflammation and pain. Steroids may be administered in pill form, or they can be injected into your joint. Side effects of steroids may include thinning bones, poor wound healing and a decreased ability to fight infection. Steroids may be reserved for people who can't take either NSAIDs or colchicine.

Uric acid is filtered out of the body by the kidneys. It is then excreted in urine. When too much uric acid is produced by the liver, the kidneys are not able to remove it all, and it builds up in the blood stream. This build up of uric acid in the blood stream is known as hyperuricemia. Over time the uric acid crystallizes and ends up settling in joint spaces. White blood cells eventually mistake the crystals as a foreign invader to the body, and gather into the joints as well to attack the crystals. This causes inflammation, ie: swelling, redness, and the typical gout pain.

2. Dairy: Dairy is great as long as you stick to the low-fat variety. Thankfully, most of these taste just as good as the normal varieties, and after a while you'll probably develop a preference for low fat anyway.

Meats are known to be higher in purines, and they should be avoided. However, you don't have to do without them. The ones that are the biggest problems are the organ meats, and a lot of people don't like them anyway. These include liver and kidney meats.

Alcohol can interfere with the removal of uric acid from the body. Regular consumption of alcohol increases the likelihood of getting gout. Other risk factors include:

Gout is a painful and potentially disabling rheumatic disease and is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Gout accounts for approximately 5% of all cases of arthritis. Gout usually affects the first metatarsal phalangeal joint of the big toe (hallux) or the ankle joints. Gout most often affects the big toe but can also affect the ankle, knee, foot, hand, wrist and elbow. Approximately one million people in the United States suffer from attacks of gout. Gout is nine times more common in men than in women. It predominantly attacks males after puberty, with a peak age of 75. In women, gout attacks usually occur after menopause.

Alcohol can reduce the release of uric acid by the kidneys into your urine, causing an increase of uric acid in your body. Beer, which is rich in purines, appears to be worse than some other beverages that contain alcohol.

-Injury to the joint -Exposure to lead -Diet. Foods that contain large amounts of purine include red meat, creamy sauces, scallops, anchovies, beans, liver and heavy creamy sauces. -Medication. Aspirin, levodopa and several other medicines can interfere with the kidneys ability to remove uric acid from the body. -Excess body weight.

Preventing gout The best medication for gout is prevention. A healthy lifestyle decreases your chances for getting gout. Maintaining a proper weight, and limiting alcohol intake will help. Dehydration is also know to increase the formation of urate crystals. Drinking a lot of water daily will help "flush" uric acid from the blood stream. It is recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water each day. Also, try to avoid foods high in purine such as alcohol, red meat, sardines, beans, rich sauces, scallops, liver and dried peas.

Water is great for almost any health situation, and this is no exception. Drink as much as possible to feel as good as possible. Though many vegetables are good for the body, those with gout should avoid things like asparagus, mushrooms, lentils, peas, and many dark green varieties of veggies during flare ups. Eat these in moderation at other times. Processed foods and foods that are heavy in oils or that have been deep-fried are also not a good idea for gout sufferers.

Alcohol and certain foods can trigger a gout attack. Events such as strokes, heart attacks or surgery may also cause gout. Gout is strongly associated with obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. Because of genetic factors, gout tends to run in some families. A variety of treatments can help you manage your gout. Traditionally treatment for acute gout has consisted of colchicine , which can be effective if given early in the attack. Gout often is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (e.g., Anaprox, Naprosyn) and indomethacin (e.g., Indocin), usually for 3-7 days.

* Vitamin C with Bioflavinoids lowers serum uric acid levels.

Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects the toe joints. It most often occurs in middle-age, overweight men who consume large amounts of meat, eggs and other foods high in nucleic acid. Men are more prone to gout than women. Women may be protected from gout by the female hormone estrogen. Men start building uric acid levels in puberty. However, uric acid does not start accumulating in women until after menopause. The painful bouts of gout are caused by too much uric acid (a waste product of the kidneys), which forms crystals in the joint fluid. Certain medicines may also cause gout, such as diuretics, niacin, low doses of aspirin, cyclosporine and some drugs used to treat cancer.

3. Chocolate: One thing no one wants to hear when they have a special diet is that chocolate is out. The good news is that chocolate is just fine for someone with gout.

Though a doctor can help with the quest for a good gout prevention diet, there are some things a person can learn on their own. The problem with this type of diet is that it eliminates many of the foods that men typically love to eat, and gout is something that occurs almost exclusively among the male population. A gout dies doesn't have to mean the end of good eating however, but it might mean learning to love some new foods and finding new ways to enjoy time tested favorites.

This article was written by Scott Mogul, editor for Healthy Skin Guide and Quick Care. For additional information about gout and gout treatment, please visit www.healthy-skin-guide.com

Drinking black cherry juice. Black cherry juice, available at health food stores, may prevent attacks and shorten acute attacks according to claims from others with gout. Black cherry extract is also available in tablet form. This is not the same as cherry drinks containing low percentages of cherry juice or artificial cherry flavor.


Cold hands and feet can precipitate an attack of gout. Try to keep your hands and feet warm, and take extra care to cover your hands and feet during cold winter months.


Myrtle Randolph

 
 
     
 
 





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