If you’ve been diagnosed with gout, you’d probably do almost anything to avoid the excruciating joint pain that comes with an attack. Determining which natural therapies will most effectively manage your symptoms requires some education. You need to know why your joints feel like they’re screaming at you. So let’s talk about what’s happening on the inside and learn how to deal with gout.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs when uric acid crystallizes in the joints. It causes swelling, redness and pain that can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The pain can be excruciating and downright debilitating during attacks. The big toe is a common place for gout pain to occur. But the pain can also be in other joints, such as the hands, wrists or ankles.
If gout gets left untreated, it can lead to painless lumps of uric acid crystals that form under the skin and around the joints. These lumps are called tophi, and in some cases they may restrict movement.
Uric acid happens when the body breaks down purines. We consume purines in the foods that we eat. In fact, purines are found in the cells of plants, animals and even humans. Some foods, like shellfish, or organ meats have higher levels of purines. A high level of uric acid in the blood can form needle-like crystals that build up in joints and soft tissues.
Four times more men than women get gout. It commonly develops in men between the ages of 30 and 50. Women affected, typically develop symptoms after menopause. Gout affects up to 3% of the adult population in Canada.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of gout.
Okay, so to recap, we’ve established that gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis. It hurts, A LOT. We can blame uric acid. Which may be too high for a number of reasons. And now we’re ready to get it under control.
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to manage symptoms associated with gout. Here are some tips to help guide you in the right direction:
5. Balch, Phyllis A. (2010) Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York, New York: Penguin Group