What is Gout?
Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It happens when there is a buildup of uric acid. Alcohol contributes to this build-up.
Under normal circumstances the body produces uric acid which is a bi-product of a chemical breakdown in the body. Normal levels of uric acid are eliminated with the waste. Problems are caused when there is a build up of this uric acid.
The link between alcohol and gout has been known for a long time and according to the Harvard Medical School recent studies have proven the link.
“The researchers believe beer consumption leads to gout because of its high purine content. Through the process of digestion, the purine compound breaks down to form uric acid. Normally, uric acid leaves the body through urine. But if the kidneys are unable to process all of the uric acid, levels in the blood become too high. The uric acid may then form crystal deposits in the joints. These deposits are the cause of gout.”
What are the Symptoms of Gout?
- Joints in the legs and feet are mostly affected
- The pain is sudden
- The pain is throbbing and often excruciating
- Outside pressure is painful
- Pain can linger for days or weeks
- Condition will get worse
Treatment for Gout
Treatment can consist of medication such as anti-inflamatory pain killers. To initially reduce the swelling, the leg needs to be raised. Then, apply an ice pack or a pack of frozen peas to the joint for 20 minutes. Let the temperature rise to normal again and, if needed, apply the ice for another 20 minutes.
Again, effective treatment will include a change in diet. Don’t use a high protein diet, such as Atkins Diet, as this will contribute to uric acid build up.
Some of the dietary restrictions include:
- Avoid/limit alcohol
- Avoid/limit high purine foods: Herring, mackerel, and anchovies, organ meats, etc.
- Avoid/limit saturated fat
- Avoid/limit foods with high-fructose corn syrup
- Eat plenty of complex carbs
- Eat plenty of low-fat/dairy-free products
- Drink plenty of water
Long term, the condition is very treatable. It might take a couple of years to totally clear the build-up, but once it’s gone, you won’t have any more damage to the joints.
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