Your big toe or foot is red, swollen, hot and so painful you can’t stand for your feet to touch the floor. Sound familiar? That’s a nutshell description of the painful flare-up of gout.
Gout occurs when uric acid crystals bore their way into joints. The crystals have sharp, needle like edges, that’s why the gout pain feels like hot needles stabbing your joint. Uric acid crystals are a byproduct of the daily cell turn over in our body. The uric acid crystals travel in the blood, and as long as the uric acid level in the blood remains within a normal range, all is well. It’s when the uric acid level in the blood rises that the crystals infiltrate the body’s joints and cause intense joint pain, swelling, redness and heat that causes the condition known as gout.
Gout usually presents in the joint of the big toe first, but can present in the heel, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists and finger as the disease progresses. The pain of gout is not present at all times, flare-ups will occur and then the pain will abate for a season.
Gout usually shows up during middle age and is diagnosised by testing the joint fluid for uric acid crystals.
Treatments for gout include two types of medications, one for stopping the pain of an acute gout attack and the other for helping to prevent a future gout flare-up.
Diet plays a big role in the prevention and treatment of gout. Prior to the current available medications, the only way gout was treated was through diet.
A person who has gout should eliminate all organ meats from their diet. No liver, sweetbreads, kidneys, brains or heart from any animal should be eaten.
Seafood should only be eaten in moderation and shellfish (shrimp, crab, etc) should be totally eliminated from the diet.
Red meat consumption should be very limited, but does not have to totally eliminated. Any thick gravies or sauces made from meat drippings should be eliminated from the diet to help prevent a gout flare-up.
Alcohol consumption, especially beer, needs to eliminated from the diet. Alcohol will provoke a gout flare-up.
All fruits and vegetables, along with low fat dairy products are permitted on a gout diet plan. The consumption of low fat dairy products actually help prevent a gout flare-up.
Some gout suffers swear by eating fresh cherries or drinking cherry juice daily to help prevent a gout flare-up. Try it and see if it works for you, the gout diet allows for all the cherries you want to eat.
Trying to treat and prevent gout flare-ups with diet alone will be very restrictive and may not always fully work. On the other hand, treating gout with medications while continuing to eat your fill of organ meats and shell fish and washing it down with alcohol won’t work either. A balance with diet and medication is the most effective way to treat and prevent gout flare-ups.