Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by needle-like crystal deposits in the joints. These crystals develop when there’s too much uric acid in the bloodstream or when the kidneys fail to regulate uric acid levels.
Most of the uric acid is produced by the human body. However, some of it is produced as a consequence of what you eat and drink, or the medications you take.
Uric acid crystals can develop in any joint, but they’re most likely to appear in the joint of the big toe. Below, we asked Dr. Kenneth Meisler to share five tips on preventing a painful gout flare-up.
1. Avoid certain alcoholic beverages
Beer and distilled liquors have the highest purine content, which leads to uric acid production. Wine, on the other hand, is less likely to raise your risk for a flare-up.
2. Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re taking
Certain medications — including over-the-counter, low-dose aspirin — can raise uric acid levels or prevent the kidneys from eliminating uric acid. Other medications that increase your risk include blood pressure medications and those used to prevent rejection for patients who’ve undergone organ transplants.
In some people, hormone replacement therapy with testosterone can also raise uric acid levels.
3. Eat a diet low in fructose
Fruits are considered a healthy food. However, for patients suffering from gout, fruits can contribute to the condition because purines are a byproduct of fructose.
Purines are a precursor to uric acid. They’re compounds found in certain foods and drinks known to raise uric acid levels.
You can still enjoy fruits, but it’s best to focus on those that are lower in fructose, such as berries, nectarines, apricots, and watermelons.
4. Avoid certain types of meats
Red meat, organs (kidney and liver), anchovies, sardines, and tuna are all high in uric acid. Poultry is a good alternative for gout sufferers, as it provides all the nutrients the other types of meat provide without raising uric acid levels.
5. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight makes it more difficult for your kidneys to eliminate uric acid. Studies show that the more weight you carry, the higher your risk of developing gout.
Weight loss, on the other hand, seems to help decrease the risk of gout.
Manage your gout with us
Gout attacks can be incredibly painful. Left untreated, the crystal deposits can cause permanent damage to your joints.
In addition to making lifestyle modifications, you can get help from our staff to lower your uric acid levels with medications. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn how to better manage your gout.