How to Prevent Gout Flare-Ups

How to Prevent Gout Flare-Ups

Gout is just one of more than 100 forms of arthritis, which refers to painful and stiff joints. Gout tends to afflict the big toe. However, it can also move to other joints. 

If you have gout, sharp uric acid crystals build up in your big toe joint. These crystals feel like needles that stab the tender, inflamed tissues in your toe.

One thing that Kimberly Bolling, MD, a skilled and caring internist in Bowie, Maryland, wants you to know is that gout is a condition that’s very responsive to your diet and lifestyle. In fact, you developed gout because your diet is high in a substance called purines.

Even though you can’t eliminate gout for good, you can minimize your risk for flares and reduce their pain by making adjustments to what you eat and what you do. Following are some tips for preventing a gout flare. 

Give purines the boot

You probably didn’t even realize that you ate anything called “purines,” but if you have gout, you ate a lot of them. Purines are a natural substance found in your body but also in some foods you eat. 

When you consume purines, your body breaks them down into uric acid. Unfortunately, if you eat a lot of purines, your body produces so much uric acid that the excess collects in your toe joint, where it crystallizes.

That sharp, stabbing pain in your foot? Those are the needle-sharp uric-acid crystals.

To avoid getting stabbed by uric crystal needles again, cut down on purines. To keep your uric acid levels at 6mg/dl, avoid or minimize:

Eliminating sugar and cutting down on alcohol can improve your health in other ways too.

Load up on gout-busting foods

Don’t worry about how you can’t eat some of your favorite things anymore. You have plenty of other options that have been shown to actually reduce the risk of another attack of gout. These options include:

Also be sure to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps your body flush uric acid away before it can form crystals. 

Whole grains, most legumes, and most vegetables are also safe. Even veggies that are high in purines, such as asparagus and spinach, don’t trigger gout attacks.

Sweat it out

Exercise benefits your entire body, and those benefits extend to gout prevention. When you exercise to the point of sweating, you actually help your body detoxify and get rid of harmful substances, including excess uric acid.

Of course, if your big toe is hurting, you may not feel like running a marathon. But you can swim, cycle, or do yoga. When your gout flare subsides, kick the exercise routine up a notch.

Dr. Bolling has many years’ experience treating gout attacks and preventing future ones. If you need help fine-tuning your diet, picking the perfect exercise routine, or getting pain relief for a current gout attack, call our Bowie, Maryland, office today at 301-352-0090 or request an appointment online.

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