Understanding What Causes Gout for Better Treatment and Prevention


Understanding What Causes Gout for Better Treatment and Prevention

What Causes Gout

Scientists can’t explain the exact cause of many forms of arthritis, especially those that have an autoimmune component (i.e. rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). However, they understand very well what causes gout. The problem is the build of uric acid in the body.

In gout sufferers, there is too much uric acid in the blood, a condition also known as hyperuricemia. When the joints become inflamed and painful, it happens because high levels of uric acid are accumulated and forms crystals in the joints. Uric acid is found naturally in the body and is formed from some chemicals called purines. About 2/3 of purines are made by the body, while the remaining 1/3 comes from the food you eat.

The buildup of uric acid occurs when the body produces too many purines, if you eat a diet high in purines, and /or the kidneys can’t eliminate them efficiently. The goal is to achieve healthy levels of uric acid, which is less than 6 mg/dL.

How to lower uric acid levels

  1. Drugs – Prescription drugs such as allopurinol and uloric can significantly improve your uric acid levels and are widely recommended for gout suffers. Between 40 and 70% of people who take these drugs can achieve optimal levels of uric acid in the blood (depending on the drug used). Talk to your doctor to better understand the benefits as well as the possible side effects associated with these drugs.
  1. Diet – A healthy diet for gout patients will include some restrictions. The following foods should be consumed in small quantities or completely avoided: organ meats , fish like tuna, herring, anchovies and mackerel, red meats (beef, pork and lamb), seafood (especially , shrimp, lobster and scallops), high fat dairy products, foods sweetened with fructose corny syrup ( from sweetened beverages), complex carbohydrates (found in breads, cakes and candies). Alcohol (especially beer) should be eliminated because promotes dehydration and irritates the urinary tract.By optimizing the diet (and restrict the foods that are high in purines), you can reduce the uric acid levels by 1 mg/dL. Therefore, changing the diet alone may not be enough; however it is helpful to avoid gouty attacks if you have already high uric acid levels. A healthy diet is also important to prevent obesity (which worsens the symptoms of gout). Avoid crash diets, as they had been linked with acute attacks of gout.Drinking enough water is very important to keep the kidney function optimal, and flush the uric acid from the system (and therefore prevent the formation of crystals). Two foods are particularly helpful: tart cherries (in any form- cherry juice, or extracts) had been found to inhibit certain enzymes that promote inflammation) and pineapple (because of its key ingredient bromelain, which also has anti-inflammatory qualities)
  2. Other considerations – Try to avoid all well known triggers of a gout attack. Beside diet, certain medications, illnesses (i.e. joint injuries, infections) are also linked with gouty attacks. Practice stress management techniques (i.e. deep breathing, yoga, meditation), since stress can aggravate this condition.

Resources:

Uloric (How High Uric Acid Causes Gout)

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Dr. Weil (What is Gout?)

Mayo Clinic (What’s Allowed, What’s Not)

Brenda VantaBrenda Vanta

Dr. Brindusa (Brenda) Vanta received her MD from Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine, Romania, and her HD diploma from Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine. Her main focuses are nutrition and homeopathy.

Oct 20, 2014
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