Do you suffer from gout? Or perhaps you know someone who is experiencing gout attacks on a regular basis? In either case, ways to cope with gout may be strongly on your mind. Luckily, there are quite a few methods you can try, all of which are easy to follow and should provide some relief.
Coping With Gout
If you suffer from gout, you are probably willing to try anything to be more comfortable in your day to day life. There are many factors that can affect gout and therefore many ways to help you manage your condition. Take a look at a few tried and true way to help you cope with gout.
What is Gout?
Before assessing what helps those with gout, it is good to give a definition to the condition. Gout is a type of arthritis that is associated with sudden and intense attacks of pain paired with inflammation in your joints. Many times, gout is the most prevalent in the big toe on either foot, making it difficult for one to walk. Gout is caused by abnormalities in the bodies metabolism where uric acid levels in the body rise, causing the gout to “flare up”. Men are much more likely to suffer from gout however, the risk of gout in women increases after menopause.
What Causes Gout?
Some people are predisposed to getting gout due to genetics. Those who also suffer from kidney disease are more likely to get gout as well. However, there are many lifestyle factors that can contribute to the disease as well. For instance, diet can play a huge part in developing symptoms of gout. Foods that are high in purine (an organic compound), such as meat and seafood, can cause a rise in the bodies uric acid. Alcohol, beer in particular, will have the same effect as will beverages that are high in fructose. Obesity can also lead to gout as a high body weight is associated with high uric acid levels too. In conjunction with obesity, a sedentary lifestyle in general can cause flare ups of gout.
Since doctors and scientists are able to identify the causes of gout, they have also been able to recommend ways to cope with this disease. Luckily, many of the methods of dealing with gout are quite simple and can make a huge difference in a person’s life.
Medication for Gout
The most common way doctors will address symptoms of gout is to prescribe medication to the person suffering. Drugs which reduce uric acid in the blood stream are most common and can help those who have severe, ongoing cases of gout. However, one should also consider more natural ways to “self-manage” their gout. Rather than jump right into medication, try these tips and tricks first.
Changes in Diet
Since most gout symptoms are triggered by foods that are rich in purine, it is essential to eliminate these from your diet. Learning what foods are high in purine and then avoiding them is a perfect way to prevent and reduce gout. Foods like shellfish and beer, two very high purine items, should be eliminates completely. In addition, gout-friendly foods should be consumed more. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and dairy products are all safe and healthy to eat. Foods rich in vitamin C have been shown to reduce uric acid as well. Any beverage containing fructose should be eliminated from the diet as it can slow the excretion of uric acid, prolonging an outburst of gout.
Weight Loss and Activity Changes
Being overweight will increase your chances of gout tremendously. In turn, losing weight can help reduce and even eliminate gout completely. Nutritionists and doctors recommend a slow and steady weight loss approach to help your body adjust easily to your new lifestyle. Incorporating simple things in your day to day life will help decrease your weight in an approachable way. Rather than look for a close parking spot at the store, park in the back and walk a little more to get to the entrance. Avoid sitting at your desk all day and ask your employer to invest in a standing desk instead. These have been shown to help decrease back pain and prevent you from being sedentary, therefore decreasing your risk of gout. Make small changes in order to help you tackle a larger problem.
If you have a sudden attack of gout, there are a few things you can immediately do to help you feel better. Give these methods a try to help in the moment.
- Place an ice pack on the affected joint.
- Keep blankets and socks off your foot to prevent pain
- Get a cane or crutches to help you walk during an attack
- Ask a friend or family member to drive you, if needed
- Do not skip any uric acid reducing medications, if you are taking them
These little tips can help you feel better during a strong period of gout, however, it will also remind you how important it is to make changes in your everyday life to help prevent these episodes.