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Gout can be a painful condition that is usually the result of a high alcohol and protein diet that results in a high concentration of uric acid in the blood. This condition is often referred to as the rich mans disease.
Gout Causing Foods
What is gout?
Gout, otherwise referred to as gouty arthritis, is a category of arthritis that is characterized by pain, inflammation, and swelling, especially in the ankles, large toes, and feet. This condition mostly occurs when uric acid – a kind of waste product that is present in the blood – is accumulated and needle-shaped monosodium urate crystals are formed. These crystals get deposited in the tissues, thereby leading to severe pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected joints (gout symptoms). The elevation of blood uric acid levels as well as the onset of gout is attributed to a number of reasons, the prominent one being Hyperuricemia (high concentration of uric acid). Kidney dysfunction is another significant cause for the high uric acid level in blood.
This disease, also known as the ‘rich man’s disease’ or the ‘disease of kings,’ can also be caused from a high intake of alcohol and purine rich foods such as red meat, offal foods, and shellfish. A person with a family history of gout is also at an increased risk to develop this disease. Certain medications in the form of aspirin and diuretics and chemotherapy treatment for cancer can also elevate the blood uric acid levels. Other causal factors that can lead to the development of this disease are high blood pressure and obesity. Studies reveal that about 4% of the world’s population suffers from this disease. Even though gout can affect anyone irrespective of their age and sex, it is most commonly seen in men during their 40s and 50s. It also affects women however mostly after their menopause.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), this disease develops through four different stages: Asymptomatic gout, Acute gouty arthritis, Interval gout, and Chronic tophaceous gout. If left untreated, gout may lead to a number of other conditions including kidney stones. The success of its treatment depends upon its diagnosis. In other words, the earlier the diagnosis, the more effective treatment will be. When it comes to treatment, it is primarily focused to reduce acute pain as well as to prevent future attacks.
Physicians usually prescribe medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid drugs in order to relieve the symptoms of gout. Depending upon the severity of the disease, medications such as colchicines may also be used for treatment.
Gout and exercise
Most gout sufferers tend to be overweight, and one of the best ways to lose weight and reduce the incidence of gout is through regular exercise. According to studies, exercise not only helps for smooth blood circulation but also helps to alleviate pain, although it will not break up the previous deposits of uric acid in tissues and joints. Furthermore, exercise promotes for the lubrication of joints as well as connective tissues. A majority of endurance, strengthening, and stretching exercises are considered helpful for people suffering from gout. However, for best results, it is important to consult with a doctor in order to know which exercises are most effective for gout and one’s specific case. It is not recommended to perform exercises while undergoing a gout attack. In other words, one should begin exercising only after symptoms like pain and swelling have subsided.
Foods to avoid that cause gout
Along with proper medications and exercise, it is important to follow a healthy diet for the alleviation as well as prevention of this disease. A gout diet must include fresh fruits such as bananas and strawberries; vegetables like parsley and leafy greens; and low fat dairy products. It is equally important to drink plenty of water. In addition, to get the best results, it is also important to avoid certain foods for gout, particularly foods with high content of purines, fat and proteins such as:
Offal or organ foods like heart, kidney, tripe, liver, and tongue
It is important to regulate body weight through proper exercise, in addition to avoiding high protein, fat and purine-rich foods.