If you’ve ever had gout before, you know it’s one of the most intensely painful foot conditions out there. Gout is actually one of the oldest known types of arthritis, and is caused by eating a rich diet and drinking alcohol.
This painful affliction is caused by the build up of uric acid in the blood, which forms when the body breaks down purines. The acid typically dissolves and is eliminated in the urine, but for some it will build up and form tiny crystals that lead to inflammation in the toes, feet and knees. These joints may become red, hot and so painful that even the touch of a sheet or sock is unbearable. Gout attacks can become more severe and longer-lasting with each incident.
But there’s good news: you can almost always control gout with a proper diet. The most common risk factors are being overweight, drinking alcohol, having high cholesterol or eating lots of meat. Gout is particularly associated with rich foods like cream sauces, red meat, beer and red wine. It can also be brought on by certain medications such as water pills, niacin, aspirin and some cancer drugs.
Men under 65 are four times more likely than women of the same age to experience gout, but only three times more likely after age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s because women’s risk of gout increases after menopause.
If you suffer from gout, you need to eat properly and cut back on alcohol. Focus more on vegetables, healthy starches and lean meat like chicken and fish, reduce your intake of red meat, and avoid drinking alcohol.
If you are experiencing a gout attack, call our office right away. There are medications that can significantly shorten the attack. If left untreated, you could be in pain for several days or maybe even weeks.