It seems that gout is on the increase with more men than women effected. It's an extremely painful condition and patients are often desperate for some gout pain relief.
Gout is caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in the joint space or connective tissue that links bones, or in both. These deposits cause swelling, redness, and pain, plus stiffness in the joints. Commonly it is the foot and ankle joints that are affected and in about 75% of cases, the big toe joint.
Uric Acid is formed during the metabolizing of purines - a natural compound that is found normally in our bodies and also in a lot of the food we eat. When everything is functioning normally uric acid makes its way out our bloodstream and is expelled through urine, via the kidneys.
When the levels of uric acid rise or the kidney's fall behind in their elimination process the uric acid stays in the blood stream, a condition known as hyperuricemia.
Hyperuricemia is not normally a dangerous condition or disease, however the excess uric acid crystals that result from this can be deposited in the joints, leading to gout, or as lumps under the skin around joints or on the ear. These lumps are known as tophi. More seriously, uric acid can clump together in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
Gout can be controlled in a number of ways.
Anti-inflammatory drugs - These are usually the first option when suffering from an acute gout attack. You can either take them in tablet form or as an injection straight into the joint. These offer immediate relief as they act to reduce the swelling, however they are not a long-term treatment, as they don't lower the levels of uric acid in the body.
For longer-term relief and prevent gout attacks in the future there are a number of life style changes that are pretty simple to make.
1. Lose weight.
If you're overweight or obese one of the best ways to gain gout pain relief is to lose the excess pounds. Being overweight increases the uric acid in the body and impairs kidney function.
2. Limit Alcohol.
Alcohol for a gout sufferer can be a bit of a no-go area. Alcohol, especially beer, can increase uric acid levels and puts a strain on the kidneys when processing the alcohol. If to stop drinking seems a drastic measure for you, then at least avoid beer and make sure you drink lots of water when having alcohol to dilute it. That brings us onto the third way to get pain relief.
Increase your intake of water, not just when drinking alcohol. You should be drinking between 6 - 8 ounce glasses of water a day. This keeps your body hydrated and the uric acid diluted, giving your kidney's an easier job when processing the uric acid.
This lifestyle change does require more effort than the other suggestions, however, it probably will have the most benefit.
Adjusting your diet to avoid gout-triggering foods requires a different approach to food than you are probably used to. You will need to learn which foods are high in purine so that you can avoid those and eat only foods that contain moderate or low levels of purine. When out and about, make sure you read labels and ask friends or restaurants what has gone into the meal. It's important to follow the diet or you run the risk of gout returning.
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All of these remedies are great ways to manage pain, but adjusting your diet for a gout-friendly one remains the best way to gain gout pain relief.