Who Gets Gout?

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that tends to affect the joint of the big toe. You can tell when a character on TV or in a play has gout because they usually have a big cast on one foot, walk with a crutch, and usually get kicked in their painful foot for comic effect.

The independent film “The Favourite” starring Olivia Coleman (from TV’s “The Crown”) depicted Queen Anne’s painful experiences with gout along with its supposed remedies. Take a look at a short Charlie Chaplin film from 1917 called “The Cure,” which features a stereotypical patient with gout. 

As an experienced and compassionate internist, though, Kimberly Bolling, MD, knows that suffering from gout is no laughing matter. And, contrary to public and popular opinion, gout isn’t just an affliction of the wealthy. She treats both women and men from all walks of life with gout at her Bowie, Maryland, office.

Are you at risk for gout? Answer the following questions to find out.

Are you an older man or postmenopausal woman?

Even though men are three times more likely than women to develop gout, once a woman passes menopause, her risk goes up too. Gout is more likely to develop as you age, so if you’re a man or woman in middle age or above, be sure you lower any other risk factors you may have.

Once you develop gout, it can’t be cured. You can, however, manage gout with careful attention to your diet and exercise. Better than managing gout, however, is preventing it in the first place by eliminating other risk factors.

Are you overweight or obese?

True to the stereotype, many women and men with gout are overweight or obese. In fact, being overweight or obese is generally a sign that you’re not eating a healthy diet. 

If you eat processed foods — including ones that sport the label “all natural” or “heart healthy” — you’re at risk for a number of medical conditions, including gout.

When you meet with Dr. Bolling, she discusses your diet in depth and teaches you about nutritional principles you can use to improve every aspect of your life. She also offers medically supervised weight loss, so you can improve your nutrition and lose weight while also reducing your risk for gout. 

Do you eat foods that are high in purines?

Purine is a substance that’s found in a wide variety of foods, including meat and seafood. When you eat purines, your body breaks them down into uric acid. 

Normally, you flush uric acid out of your body when you urinate. But if you consume too many purines, the excess uric acid forms painful crystals where your body is the coolest — in your toe joint. Foods that are high in purines or that exacerbate gout include:

If you’re at risk for gout, talk to Dr. Bolling about how to modify your diet so you only eat low-to-moderate purine-containing foods while still getting all of the macronutrients and micronutrients your body needs to thrive.

Do you eat lots of fresh vegetables and stay hydrated?

If you have a healthy diet that emphasizes an abundance of fresh, leafy greens and other vegetables, you’re probably at low risk for gout. Simply adding in more vegetables and some fruit — at least half a plateful at every meal — improves your overall health and prevents gout attacks, even if you have the disease.

Another way to keep yourself gout-free now and in the future is to drink plenty of healthy, hydrating beverages, particularly water. Staying hydrated helps you flush out excess uric acid so it can’t form crystals in your joints.

Exercise also helps your body detoxify and get rid of excess uric acid. If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk to Dr. Bolling about how to increase your activity gradually and safely.

Improve your diet, lose weight, and reduce your risk for gout or gout flares by calling our Bowie, Maryland, office today at 301-352-0090 or request an appointment online. You can also send a message to Dr. Bolling and the team here on our website.

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