Gout Control May Be As Simple As Mouth Control

goutGout, or gouty arthritis, is a painful form of arthritis characterized by sudden burning, stiffness, inflammation, and swelling.  It happens when a build-up of uric acid in the blood causes crystals to form and deposit around a joint, usually a big toe.

One reason why your blood might have high levels of uric acid is that there is a high level of purines.  Purines are a part of the chemical structure of human, plant, and animal genes.   When purines break down as cells die and are recycled, uric acid is formed.  Purine occurs naturally in your body but they are also found in plant and animal food products.  This is why diet plays an important role in the successful management and treatment of gout.

Gout was once thought to be an upper-class affliction.  Foods and beverages with high levels of purines were once affordable only by the well-to-do.  Overindulgence and excess of those foods and beverages were once outward displays of wealth.  Severe dietary restrictions that were hard to maintain were used to combat the condition.  In this day and age, however, gout is not exclusive; it crosses all socio-economic lines and can affect anyone.  Because of the development of effective medications, dietary restrictions have turned into dietary recommendations

Dietary considerations are suggested to help control the production and elimination of uric acid in order to prevent gout attacks or at least to make them less severe.  Here are some guidelines to help you control what you put in your mouth…

Avoid or severely limit foods that have high levels of purine.  Animal proteins – meat, seafood and poultry – contain high levels of purine.  Limit daily intake to no more than one serving or to no more than four to six ounces.       
Reduce your intake of fat.  Saturated fat reduces your body’s ability to eliminate uric acid.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Fluids, especially water, help to reduce the chances of crystal formation around a joint by aiding in the elimination of uric acid from your body.

Reduce or refuse alcohol.  What’s not known is exactly how alcohol is related to gout.  What is known is that it hinders the elimination of uric acid from your body.  Because it contains high levels of purines,  beer appears to be the worst culprit.  If you are not in the midst of a gout attack, drink – if you must –  in moderation.  If you are having a gout attack, refuse any and all alcoholic beverages.

High-fructose corn syrup is not your friend.  Fructose is the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels in the blood.  It also may increase insulin resistance, a known risk factor for the development of gout.  High-fructose corn syrup is found in many unexpected foods, so be a label reader.

Be a choosey chomper.  Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products have low purine levels.  They help prevent high levels of uric acid in the blood.

Following these dietary guidelines, you can limit your body’s uric acid production and increase its elimination.  In addition, you might actually achieve and then maintain a healthy weight as a result.  At the very least, you will bebetter able to reduce the number and severity of gout attacks.

If you have been diagnosed with gout, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff will work with you to develop a dietary plan that will help you with its management and treatment.  Schedule an appointment by calling (904) 765-8889 or by completing an online appointment request at www.jacksonvillefootandlaser.com/contact.html .