The first attack of gouty arthritis can be painful enough to interfere with your daily routines. But it will go away within a few days. Even some find that it improves its own away without treatment. Once it is gone, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore your gout! There is a chance for it to return! The following are several steps to prevent gout flare ups.
Purine, a kind of protein, is the major concern in diet for gout. This is reasonable since this protein is the fuel for the body to make more uric acid. And it can be found naturally in certain foods – even some are very rich in purines.
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Understanding the role of uric acid in a gout flare-up
Too much uric acid in the bloodstream can increase the chance for this acid to move into the joint and stay in there. Over time, the build-ups of crystals (urate crystas) form. These crystals can be needle-like crystals that cause inflammation, causing new gout attack.
Since foods that you eat can affect your uric acid level, you should understand which foods you need to restrict and avoid. For more detailed information about foods you can eat and you need to avoid for gout, click here!
Does diet alone work effectively?
The answer is dependent on the high level of your uric acid level. If it is around 7 mg /dL, restricting foods high in purines in your diet can be an effective option. The level is commonly considered normal for people with gout when it is 6 mg /dL or lower.
For sufferers with higher levels (such as greater than 10 mg /dL), medical intervention is usually required since diet alone is often not enough!
Weight control, another benefit from diet
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Obesity or overweight is a risk factor of gouty arthritis. So keeping your weight as ideal as possible in long term can help decrease your risk of the attacks.
Having healthy weight is beneficial to protect yourself from other forms of arthritis, too – particularly such as osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Therefore, your diet should not only focus on purines, but also watch on the calories! Everything should be balance!
When it comes to the role of exercise for gout, getting plenty of physical activity is another effective way to control your weight! Since gout could lead to joint damage, a low-impact exercising program is commonly more recommended.
Exercise is essential to help maintain the strength of muscles around the joint, too – protecting the joint from another risk of other types of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. In fact, gout can coexist with osteoarthritis.
Overall, regular exercise can help maintain your fit status in long term. It is effective way to fight against certain health conditions that may contribute to trigger the next gout flare-ups.
For instance, exercise is useful to improve your blood flow, reducing the risk of hypertension which then eventually can help promote better health for your kidneys. And if you have healthy kidneys, your body will work more easily to get rid of excess uric acid from your bloodstream.
- Make sure to keep hydrated every day by drinking plenty of water (about 1.8 to 4 liters per day). With adequate water in the body, the kidney can work optimally in filtering waste products (including excess uric acid).
- Alcohol has purine content, especially in beer. The habit of drinking too much alcohol is a risk factor of gout, too. For other reasons of why alcohol is considered bad for gouty arthritis, see this section!
- See also other helpful steps of lifestyle approaches to cope with gout in here!
Depending on the severity level of uric acid you have, your doctor may prescribe some medicines to help control and lower your uric acid.
The following are some factors /conditions /reasons of why you need to take medicines to cope with your gout:
- If you have more than 2 gout attacks per year, this can signal that your uric acid level is very poorly controlled.
- If the deposits of urat crystals cause visible spots, such as chronic tophi (the lumps of uric acid under the skin).
- If you are at high risk of kidney stones. For instance, certain medicines can be prescribed when there is too many uric acid found in your urine – or if you have personal history of kidney stones.
- When you are going to take a surgery or treatment for cancer (such as chemotherapy), because more cells of cancer that are killed can make the body make more purines.
The medicines that are commonly prescribed to help prevent gout flare-ups include:
- It can help reduce the ability of needle-like urate crystals to lead to inflammation in the joint.
- Medicines to reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood or block the production of this acid in the body, such as xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
- And probenecid. It is used to help boost the ability of the body to excrete uric acid since it can improve the function of your kidneys.
After the first attack, there is OFF period that can take several months or even years before eventually the second attack strikes. Each stage of gout can require different treatment approaches. See also stages of this joint disease!