Gout: Suppressing Surprise Attacks
Not everybody likes surprises, especially unpleasant ones! A bill higher than expected, a fender bender on your way to work, or an unwelcome guest who shows up on your front porch are all surprises we’d rather not face, not unlike a gout attack. This complex form of arthritis is characterized by sudden and severe bouts of pain, swelling, burning, and stiffness—typically in the big toe joint. Left untreated, these attacks can happen again and again, eventually causing damage to the joint and surrounding tissues. Understanding the condition and how you can manage it is essential to keeping painful surprises at bay.
Blindsided by Build Up
Gout is caused by too much uric acid in your blood. Your body produces this substance when it breaks down purines found naturally in your body as well as in food you consume. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys, but if your body produces too much, or your kidneys excrete too little, a build-up can occur. This results in sharp urate crystals forming in a joint and its surrounding tissues, which is what is behind the pain and inflammation that arrives unannounced.
Woken Up Without Warning
Pain can be so sudden and so intense that it can often wake you in the night. Even the light touch of the sheet can be excruciating. Your joint may feel as if it is on fire, have decreased mobility, and look red and swollen. Discomfort can linger for days, like that uninvited guest who just won’t leave.
Changes Can Lower Chances
Your chances of getting gout are higher if it runs in your family. Certain medications and underlying conditions like diabetes, heart and kidney diseases, and untreated high blood pressure can all increase your risk as well. Being overweight and drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can also contribute to the problem. One of the most common culprits, however, is a diet high in purines. Fortunately, by managing underlying conditions and making a few lifestyle changes, you can reduce your chances of a gout attack making a surprise visit.
Fend off Attacks by Eating the Right Foods
There are medications that we can prescribe to help control your gout, but there are also plenty of things that you can do to improve, and even prevent, your symptoms. Maintain a healthy weight by exercising daily. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, as well as sweetened beverages—get your fill of water instead. Avoid foods high in uric-acid producing purines, like red and organ meats, seafood, poultry, and foods high in fat. Better choices include whole grains, vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, and non- or low-fat dairy products.
Don’t let a surprise attack of gout sneak up on you! Let Country Foot Care help to manage your condition and ease your pain. During regular office hours, feel free to contact any of our New York locations to make an appointment by phone. You can also request an appointment by clicking on the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of this page.