What is Gout and how to deal with it?
Gout is an extremely painful condition which occurs when uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints causing them to be RED, SHINEY, SWOLLEN and VERY PAINFUL to touch. It often starts in the night when joints are at rest, therefore cooler and the crystals precipitate out.
Prevalent in males and other pre-disposing factors are diet (too high in red meat, sea food, beer and sweetened soft drinks), the menopause, genetics, high blood pressure, it can also occur as a side effect of many drugs such as aspirin and blood pressure medications.
TIPS TO DEAL WITH GOUT:
1.Cut down on foods that increase uric acid levels in your body, giving rise to formation of uric crystals in the joints. The culprits are:
-Sugared fizzy drinks
2.Drink at least two litres of water a day. (Tea + coffee can be included as part of this water intake- just watch your caffeine levels!)
3.Moderate your alcohol consumption. Men need to keep their alcohol intake at less than 17 standard drinks per week and women at less than eleven. Try to have at least 3 alcohol free days per week and avoid binge drinking. Look up drinkaware.ie.
4.Eat foods that in moderation may have a beneficial effect.
-Legumes – peas, beans, nuts and coffee
-Low fat dairy products
-If over-weight, try to lose it, but avoid high-protein diets.
5.Exercise, but avoid exercise where you may suffer trauma to the joints as a knock on a joint can also bring on an attack. Think walking, cycling, swimming.
6.Keep taking your gout prevention medication even if you have had an attack. Gout is a life-long condition, but can be managed very successfully if you follow the advice given on lifestyle and medications.
WHAT TO DO IF DESPITE YOUR BEST EFFORTS, AN ATTACK OCCURS:
1.Rest the joint.
2.Apply ice to the joint. A pack of frozen peas wrapped in a towel will do just the job!
3.Take your anti-inflammatory medication which your doctor will have prescribed as soon as possible. The quicker you take your medication, the shorter and less painful the attack will be. MAKE SURE THAT YOU KEEP A SUPPLY OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES.
4.Keep taking your prevention medications.
For further advice on living with Gout, look up arthritisireland.ie.