To anyone who has ever had this disease, those 4 letters would bring a cold chill down your spine. With the exception of perhaps childbirth or kidney stones there is little doubt that this is one of the top pain producing afflictions of the human body. I can tell you that I have seen it bring construction and steel workers to tears. Ask anyone who has had it and they will tell you of that a “gouty flair” is simply excruciating.
What is Gout???
Gout is a type of arthritis, made famous by the painful swelling of usually one or more joints. Simply put it is the over abundance of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is the by-product of purines which are found in proteins. If there is too much uric acid in your blood, it forms crystals which precipitate out into your joints. Usually it is the big toe joint, but it also occurs in the ankles, knees and even the hands.
Causes are usually related to foods (proteins) which when eaten in large amounts, and the body cannot break down the proteins properly. A few such foods are alcohol, beans, red meat, organ meats, shellfish (crab, shrimp and lobster), mushrooms, peas, asparagus and small oily fish such as herring, anchovies and sardines. These are to name but a few.
There are some foods which are good for gout suffers to eat and they include chocolate, cherries and celery, bananas, tomatoes and foods that are high in vitamin –C (oranges and bell peppers). Other reasons for gout attacks are joint injury (i.e.: stubbing your toes), infection, surgery, and crash diets, and certain medications.
Prevention is ALWAYS the best way to avoid many afflictions. In the case of gout, it is best to eat high fiber, low protein foods. Avoiding large amounts of red meat, alcohol and shellfish is a good way to start. Changing ones eating habits is never an easy thing to do, but in addition to medications, which can help lower blood uric acid (below 6 mg/dl) this is a good place to start.
There are several things that can “mimic” a gout attack, so please don’t diagnose yourself or let a friend or loved one diagnose you either.
Those of you who have read my blogs before know that I am a big believer in “prevention”. May you never be a victim of this painful affliction, but let’s just say you should just try and avoid it by eating healthy, high fiber, high glucemic index carbs (all in moderation of course). Drink alcohol in moderation, and let’s not forget the word many of us do not like to hear…EXERCISE!
Stay well, and eat well.