Is your foot red, hot and swollen? Does it hurt so bad you don’t even want to put your socks on? Did the swelling and pain come on overnight with no warning or trauma? You may have gout!
If you have been diagnosed with gout you know that it is no joking matter. Gout is an inflammatory condition induced by the deposition of uric acid crystals within our joints. Uric acid is produced in the body daily, but is also derived from purines found in foods we eat. When your body produces too much uric acid or excretes too little, you may experience a gout attack. Gout attacks are usually associated with over eating of purine rich foods, but also can be caused by dehydration and other kidney related problems. The condition can be extremely debilitating during an active attack which usually comes on without warning and leads to excruciating pain with pressure as light as the touch of a bed sheet.
Gout likes to deposit in the joints of our feet, especially the great toe joint, because the decreased body temperature at this part of our bodies allows uric acid crystals to precipitate out of our blood. Another theory as to why the feet are affected so frequently is the slow flow of blood in the feet allows deposition. All I know is that gout happens more often in the feet than any other part of the body!
In the past it was delegated mostly to the wealthy being dubbed the “rich man’s disease” because the prevalence of this condition among this group. Today the wealthy and poor are equally affected due to availability of foods rich in purine rich proteins.
Drug treatments that suppress the formation of uric acid crystals and reduce inflammation are generally prescribed; however, limiting your intake of purine-containing foods may also be advised.
Guidelines to Manage Gout
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol. No more than 1-2 drinks a day. Your body will selectively metabolize the alcohol instead of the uric acid in your system.
- Maintain your weight. Attempts to rapidly reduce weight may provoke an attack.
- Use moderation when consuming foods high in purines.
- Select foods that provide less than 100 grams of protein (14 oz. meat) daily
Foods with High Purine Content
- Organ Meats
- Bouillon (prepared)
- Game meats
- Meat extracts
- Red Wine
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