5 Smart Ways to Minimize Your Gout Symptoms

5 Smart Ways to Minimize Your Gout Symptoms

Gout is a complex form of inflammatory arthritis in which uric acid crystals collect in your soft tissues, particularly in your feet and toes. The largest joint of your big toe is usually most affected by gout. 

When you’re in the middle of a gout attack, your toe can be so red and swollen that the barest pressure on it is excruciating. You may feel like you’re being stabbed with multiple needles, and in a sense, you are. The uric acid crystals are sharp and damage the soft tissues in your joint.

Even though you can’t cure gout, you can manage it and even reduce the number and severity of your flares. However, you need to be smart about the choices you make to stay free from gout pain.

Expert and caring internist Kimberly Bolling, MD, has many years of experience diagnosing and treating gout in her Bowie, Maryland, office. Following are five smart habits she recommends to keep your gout pain to a minimum.

1. Stay very, very hydrated

When you have gout, your body isn’t properly processing the purines in foods such as red meat and shellfish. 

Normally, your body breaks down purines into uric acid and then excretes them through urination. However, if you eat too many purines, or if your kidneys can’t handle them, they collect in your bones and tissues.

Drinking plenty of healthy liquids, such as water and unsweetened tea, helps your kidneys flush away excess uric acid. So does eating a diet that’s filled with moisture-rich vegetables and fruits. 

In addition, drinking coffee seems to alleviate the severity and frequency of gout attacks. Check with Dr. Bolling about how many cups of coffee are safe for you to drink.

2. Banish the bad stuff

The best step you can take to control your gout and get hold of your health is to avoid all of the processed foods, junk foods, and high-fructose corn syrup beverages that fill up grocery stores and fast-food places. Say “no” to:

Go for fresh whenever you can. If you can’t afford fresh, pick up bags of frozen veggies and fruits. They’re sometimes even more vitamin-rich than the fresh foods in the produce aisle.

3. Lighten up on purines

Unfortunately, many of the purine-rich foods that you must eliminate on a gout diet are otherwise healthy. You should cut down on:

Instead, concentrate on gout-friendly foods, such as:

If you’re not sure how to incorporate such foods into your diet, look up cookbooks and recipes for the Mediterranean diet or the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet. 

4. Use RICE

When you’re in pain from a gout attack, you can adopt the RICE protocol that athletes and others use when they’ve been injured. RICE stands for:

You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control pain. If your pain is too severe, call us and we may inject corticosteroids to control pain and swelling.

5. Add in acids

When you’re busily hydrating yourself with glasses of water throughout the day, add in some acids, too. Foods that are high in acids help alkalize your body so it’s less likely to form uric acid and more likely to excrete it. Try:

You can add stevia or raw honey to take the bite out of acids while they take a bite out of your gout.

The more you do to improve your overall health, the less severe your gout will be. If you need help losing weight or starting an exercise program that you’ll love and happily stick to, let us know. We’re here for you whenever you need us.

Do you have gout? Find out how to control and reduce flares by calling us today at 301-352-0090. You can also request an appointment online.

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