4 Tips for Managing Gout

Gout is a common inflammatory arthritis that occurs three times more frequently in men than women. While a gout attack is incredibly painful, early treatment often reduces the severity and frequency of future flare-ups.

Dr. Behnam Khaleghi and our team at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center in Orange and Laguna Hills, California, offer tips for managing gout. These strategies include preventive lifestyle changes and the steps you should immediately take at the first sign of a flare-up.

How gout develops

Gout occurs when crystals of uric acid accumulate in your joints. Uric acid is a waste product that’s created from the metabolism of biochemicals called purines. Purines, which are essential for building your DNA, come from two sources: Your body produces them, and they’re found in many foods and beverages.

Your body normally eliminates uric acid in your urine. Problems develop when your kidneys don’t remove enough uric acid from your blood, when your body produces too much, or you consume too many purines. Then you end up with high blood levels of uric acid.

When your blood is saturated with excessive uric acid, it starts to crystalize. These crystals then build up in your joints.

Gout symptoms

Gout most often affects the joint at the base of your big toe. However, it may also affect your foot, ankle, knee, and other joints throughout your body. In severe cases, the crystals may appear in soft tissues such as your tendons.

Gout attacks appear suddenly, causing the affected joint to become red, swollen, and extremely painful. The acute pain typically lasts up to 12 hours before it starts to feel better, but then your joint discomfort may persist for days or weeks.

While you can’t predict future flare-ups, you can make several lifestyle changes to prevent your risk for future painful attacks.

Four tips for managing gout

These tips will help you deal with your gout when it flares up.

1. Change your diet

Limiting your purine intake lowers your blood levels of uric acid and reduces the frequency of gout attacks. We can help you determine whether you need to restrict or eliminate specific high-purine products. Several examples of foods and beverages most patients need to limit include:

Uric acid is also a byproduct of fructose metabolism. As a result, you may need to limit products such as sweetened sodas that contain high-fructose corn syrup.

2. Lose weight

Carrying extra weight is associated with a higher risk of developing gout. Your kidneys can’t work as efficiently when you’re overweight, making it harder for them to eliminate uric acid. Being extremely overweight may increase your risk by tenfold or more. You’re also more likely to have your first gout attack earlier when you’re overweight compared to the first episode in people who maintain a healthy weight.

3. Minimize your stress

Emotional and physical stress may boost blood levels of uric acid and trigger a gout attack. Stress can also make your symptoms worse during a gout flare-up. Physical activity, mindfulness meditation, and listening to music are all ways to reduce stress.

4. Practice self-care during a gout attack

Gout flare-ups are known for striking in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping. As soon as the pain wakes you, it’s important to manage the attack by taking immediate steps to alleviate your inflammation and pain. You can:

When applying ice, wrap crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas in a clean cloth and gently place it on the area for 20 minutes. Repeat this treatment several times a day.

Getting prompt treatment after a gout attack may reduce the duration and severity of your symptoms. Call us at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center or schedule an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Easing a Gout Attack: Your 10-Point Management Plan

Even if you’re not familiar with gout, you’ll recognize a gout attack. These attacks occur suddenly, causing rapid inflammation and severe pain — usually in the joint of your big toe. Here are 10 steps you can take to ease a gout attack.

Can PRP Therapy Help My Joint Pain?

Can you think of any better way to relieve joint pain than by healing the damaged tissues? The only way to do that is with regenerative therapies such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), a natural and safe treatment that can ease arthritis pain.

Are You at Risk for a Vitamin Deficiency?

Did you know that you can be the picture of health and still have a vitamin deficiency? Your risk rises if you have an illness or health condition like a rheumatic disease. Here’s what you need to know about the risk factors for vitamin deficiencies.

What You Need to Know About Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine is one of the most exciting fields in health care. Why? Because it does something you can’t get from medications and surgery: It turns the body’s healing cells into a treatment that regenerates and restores damaged tissues.

Five Common Signs of Dehydration

You know one of the first signs of dehydration — thirst — but it's important to know all the possible signs so that you drink fluids and rehydrate as quickly as possible. Becoming severely dehydrated causes severe health problems.

Is Your Diet to Blame for Inflammation?

Following a healthy diet has a new meaning when you know that the foods you eat can either increase or decrease inflammation. Here's what you should know about the effect of foods and how you can use them to get relief from inflammatory conditions.