Gout is a very common form of arthritis that typically affects men, and nearly twice as many African American men as Caucasian men. But just because gout is common and not life threatening doesn't mean that those who have it have to suffer with painful gout attacks. By simply following these 10 tips, people with gout will find that they have fewer gout attacks impacting their daily lives.
This is vitally important for everyone, not just those with gout. The human body is mostly water and that water is responsible for flushing toxins from the body in addition to transporting nutrients to cells. In the case of gout, the excess uric acid that builds up in joints causing gout attacks is excreted in urine, so staying hydrated means that the body is able to flush out that uric acid by means of frequent urination so it can't collect in joints.
Alcohol and gout don't mix. Any alcohol contributes to dehydration in the body, but beer in particular seems to be particularly problematic for those with gout. The reason is that when the proteins from the yeast in beer are broken down, they create uric acid. When coupled with dehydration, it is almost certain to add up to a gout attack. Many other types of alcohol are made with yeast as well, so it's best to skip the drinks altogether.
There are some medications that people with gout need to steer clear of. The two most prevalent are aspirin and diuretics (medications that remove water from the body). Aspirin can cause uric acid levels in the body to skyrocket, which means more gout attacks. Diuretics remove water from the body, and that same water is needed to dispose of the excess uric acid. If a person has been advised to take a low dose aspirin daily or is on prescription diuretics for heart concerns, that person should keep taking the medication unless advised to stop. But that person also needs to be sure to eliminate other gout triggers to minimize the chances of an attack.
Eat right and drink plenty of water is sound advice for anyone, but it's vital for those with gout. There is a special diet for those with gout that cuts down on certain foods that contain purines, which are substances that, when broken down by the body, cause uric acid levels to rise. This means cutting back on red meat, avoiding alcohol, and eating plenty of low fat dairy, fruits and vegetables. When someone is diagnosed with gout, the diagnosing doctor can give him a complete "gout diet" to help avoid flare ups.
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for those with gout because weight gain will cause the amount of uric acid in the body to increase. But maintaining a healthy weight isn't as hard as one might think. In fact, if a person is following all of the tips on our list, a healthy weight will come naturally with just a little bit of moderate exercise, something else that is just as good for those with gout as it is for everyone else.
Sleep is restorative for the human body. Getting plenty of rest is important for those who have gout because increased stress leads to more gout attacks. The exact mechanism of this is not well known, but some theorize that when people are under a lot of stress they don’t take very good care of themselves, which can lead to flare ups. But doctors agree that when a flare up does happen, the best place to be is in bed resting to get it to clear up quickly.
Devil's claw is a beautifully flowering plant native to South Africa that has natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. It's been used for centuries for arthritis treatment. The tuber of the plant is what has the most medicinal properties and it can be found in capsule form or as a tincture at most natural food markets or from a qualified herbalist.
The use of willow bark with gout is somewhat controversial. It has been used for centuries for a variety of arthritic conditions. Some say that it shouldn't be used, probably because aspirin was created from this plant and aspirin should be avoided by those with gout. However, the combination of the salicylic acid with other compounds in the willow bark seems to not cause a problem. Because aspirin is only derived from willow bark, and is not pure willow bark, the irritation may not be the same. However, just like with many herbal preparations, people will respond differently. So if willow bark causes a problem, it's best to stop using it and find another preparation.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for arthritic complaints as well as gastrointestinal upsets and research has shown it to be just as effective at reducing pain and inflammation when used over time as many of the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications currently available. Ginger is available in its native root form, powdered, or in tincture or in capsules. It's even possible to find recipes to make real ginger ale online and enjoy the benefits of ginger every day.
Meadowsweet is similar to willow bark with its aspirin-like qualities and in fact it was meadowsweet from which scientists first isolated the active ingredient in aspirin in the 19th century. However, the other complimentary compounds in meadowsweet work in a very non-aspirin like way to avoid stomach upset (meadowsweet is often used for stomach ailments) and this may be the reason why it doesn't cause the same irritation in people with gout as aspirin does. As with the case of willow bark, if a person with gout experiences any problems with using meadowsweet, that person should discontinue its use.
By simply following these 10 tips a person with gout can expect to experience fewer gout attacks and that adds up to a better quality of life with more pain-free days.