Gout (Uric Acid)
Gout is one of the most painful rheumatic diseases that is caused by an increase in the blood level of Uric Acid (Hyperuricemia) – a substance that results from the breakdown of purines in the body. Normally uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passes through the kidneys into the urine, where it is eliminated. There are two types of hyperuricemia. Primary hyperuricemia refers to familial hyperuricemia – rendering it a hereditary metabolic disorder. Secondary hyperuricemia refers to an overproduction of uric acid due to the excessive breakdown of purine-containing cells or an inability of the kidneys to excrete uric acid, causing a build-up. Other causes of secondary hyperuricemia include excessive protein and alcohol intake. Recent studies have shown that increased levels of uric acid are linked to conditions such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Gout results from the deposit of needle-like crystals of uric acid in the connective tissue, joint spaces, or both. These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes swelling, redness, and pain in the joints. Gout can affect any joint – but commonly affects the joints in the big toe. Gout sufferers are mainly middle-aged males that have a family history of the condition. In women, gout usually appears after menopause.
What are the symptoms of Gout?
Symptoms of gout include sudden severe pain and tenderness, redness, and hot swelling, in the affected joint – most commonly the big toe.
What are the causes of Gout?
- Family History: genetics may play a role in determining a person’s risk of hyperuricemia
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Eating too many purine-rich foods
- An enzymatic defect that interferes with the breakdown of purines
What foods should be avoided?
- Red Meat: especially veal & lamb
- Seafood: salmon, trout, mackerel, mussels, shellfish
- Vegetables: lentils, peas, beans, asparagus, tomatoes
- Yeast products: baked goods, beer
- Beverages: alcohol, coffee, tea, sodas
- Chocolates & nuts
- Meat broth or stock
Gout Preventive Measures
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water, fresh juices or herbal tea daily
- Eat foods high in potassium (e.g, bananas)
- Take half a teaspoon of baking soda with meals to prevent attacks
- Eat many high fiber foods
- Eat cherries, blueberries, strawberries & grapes
- Drink black cherry juice as often as possible