Management of Gout and Hyperuricemia

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IT IS very common nowadays for people to suffer from gout and high uric acid levels. As it is so common, you could be a sufferer and it is important to know how to manage these at home.

Do you know what your doctor means when he talks to you about having gout and a high uric acid level?



WHAT IS URIC ACID?
High uric acid, otherwise known as "hyperuricemia" in medical terms, is an excessive concentration of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste produced during the breakdown of purine, a substance found in many food items.


WHAT IS GOUT?
Gout on the other hand, is a resulting disease brought about by an overload of uric acid in the body. The overload of uric acid leads to the formation of tiny crystals of urate that deposits in the tissues of the body, especially around the joints. Formation of these crystals in the joints causes recurring attacks of arthritis (joint inflammation). This condition is better known as gouty arthritis, which can be an extremely painful attack with rapid onset of joint inflammation. Gout is considered a chronic and progressive disease, which can later lead to joint destruction, decreased kidney function and if left untreated, may even lead to kidney stones. Gouty arthritis also usually affects joints at the base of toes, ankles and knees. As gouty arthritis advances, one may notice some degree of deformity on the affected joints or tissues of the body.

As already mentioned earlier, hyperuricemia may indicate an increased risk of gout. The relationship between hyperuricemia and gout is however, unclear. Some people with hyperuricemia do not develop gout (known as asymptomatic hyperuricemia). Nevertheless, do not take asymptomatic hyperuricemia lightly as it is still considered a precursor state to the development of gout. It is also important to highlight that though generally, patients suffering from gout are also observed to have high uric acid levels, there are some still some exceptional cases by which people with repeated gout attacks were also found to have normal or even low blood uric acid levels.

Gout is found to be nine times more common in men than women. It predominantly attacks males after puberty, and women usually after menopause.


SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GOUT
How can you know if you are suffering from gout? Acute gout attacks in the affected joints are characterized by rapid pain onset, warm sensation, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked or intense tenderness. One may also develop fever with acute gout attacks. These painful attacks usually subside in hours to days, with or without medication. In rare instances, an attack may last for weeks. Most people with gout may experience repeated attacks of arthritis over the years.


CAUSES OF GOUT AND RISK FACTORS
Causes and risk factors for the disease include obesity, weight gain (especially in youngsters), alcohol intake, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function, certain drugs (e.g. thiazide diuretics, aspirins etc.) and certain diseases (e.g. leukemias, lymphomas, blood disorders etc).


TREATMENT FOR GOUT
Two key concepts essential for treatment of gout include medication therapy and home remedy prevention therapy.

Pain relievers are often prescribed by doctors to control one’s pain. Pain relievers may be changed to potent ones periodically by doctors, depending on one’s severity of pain.

Other medications also include anti-inflammatory agents such as NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), colchicines and corticosteroids to decrease joint inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe allopurinol, probenecid etc. to reduce high uric acid levels in the bloodstream.

NOTE: Like for all allopathic medicine, one should always seek professional advice from your doctor before using them.


MANAGEMENT OF GOUT AT HOME
This can include:
• Resting and elevating the inflamed joint with pillows.
• Application of ice packs.
• Weight reduction for obese individuals.
• Maintaining adequate fluids not only prevents acute gout attacks, but also prevent formation of kidney stones in patients suffering from gout.
• Avoid alcohol as it is known to precipitate acute gout attacks and also affects uric acid metabolism that can cause hyperuricemia.
• Regular monitoring of uric acid levels in blood is best for optimal outcomes.
• One of the most important thing to do in managing patients suffering from gout is to alter the diet to avoid a purine-rich diet.


FOOD ITEMS TO BE AVOIDED FOR GOUT PATIENTS
Avoiding certain foods helps in prevention of uric acid stone formation. For those individuals who are already afflicted with gout, it is recommended to still avoid the food items as stated below. This will not only reduce the pain associated with gout, but also prevent the development of the disease. Some examples include red meat, anchovies, sardines, meat extracts, shellfish, coffee, tea, chocolates, cocoa, wholemeal bread, wholemeal cereals, oatmeals, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, baked beans, dried peas and beans and spinach. It is of course recommended that one maintains a vegetarian diet for the management of any disease. Nonetheless, for non-vegetarians, certain parts of an animal's body contain very high levels of purine and can therefore worsen the patients' condition. These parts such as the kidney, liver, heart and brains of an animal should therefore be completely avoided.


CHERRIES TO REDUCE ARTHRITIS PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
Did you know that cherries are the most powerful medicine for eliminating gout and reducing arthritis pain and inflammation. Research discovered that Cherries are safe, effective and fast-acting in eliminating swelling and pain. According to numerous studies, cherries have been found to be miraculously effective in keeping acid levels in check and also helps prevent the recurrence of gout. Try consuming just a few cherries every day and see if it works for you. Together, we can practice a healthy lifestyle to effectively prevent and manage gouty arthritis.



You may also be interested in:
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Turmeric Milk Remedy for Cough, Cold and Sore Throat
Treat Stomach Acidity with Potato Juice



Author: Sudha Karuppiah

Copyright © 2012 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources
Holistic Living Annex (Volume 1, Issue 6 - JULY 2012 Edn)

2 Responses for “ Management of Gout and Hyperuricemia”

  1. Cindy says:

    This is a very knowledgeable article.. I love it..My grandmother is having gout so this article comes at the right time..Thanks for sharing..

     
  2. harold newman says:

    my dad suffers from gout. will try implementing the cherries in his diet right away.

     

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