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Gout Fast Facts

Written by Courteney

Posted on August 30, 2016 at 1:23 am


Gout is an excruciatingly painful form of inflammatory arthritis caused intermittently by excess uric acid buildup in the body.

Facts About Gouty Arthritis

  • Approximately 1 in 200 American adults is afflicted by gout.
  • Approximately 9 out of 10 gout sufferers are adult males.
  • How does gout work? Uric acid spikes (hyperuricemia) or uric acid buildup sometimes causes acidic crystals to form in the affected joint.
  • These uric acid crystal deposits are called tophi, and make the skin around the joint look lumpy.
  • Not all people with hyperuricemia develop gout – only if the excess uric acid causes crystals to form.
  • Uric acid is derived from the body’s absorption of purines (substances found within bodily tissues and in many foods we eat). Therefor, ingesting foods high in purines may bring on an attack of gout.
  • Gout attacks usually originate in the base joint of the big toe, but can occur in other joints such as the ankles, foot arches, wrists or knees (usually occurring in one joint at a time).
  • Symptoms of gout include: redness, swelling, agonizing pain, a bumpy appearance, warmth, significant stiffness and inability to bear weight.
  • Gout risk factors include: being of male gender, being overweight or obese, consuming too much alcohol, consuming too many purine-rich foods, taking certain medications or supplements such as diuretics or niacin, or having certain other health conditions such as high blood pressure or other forms of arthritis.
  • Gout affects different sufferers differently, attacks may occur months or years apart, or much more frequently. Treatment depends on the frequency and severity of attacks.
  • Gout attacks usually occur for 3-11 days, but some may be longer. While some people don’t experience a subsequent attack, up to 60% of sufferers will have another attack within a year.
  • Some sufferers who sustain uric acid elevation have a chronic form of the disease and require daily medication to prevent frequent attacks.
  • Some foods for gout sufferers to avoid include: high-fructose drinks such as soda, too much alcohol and purine rich foods. Sufferers should also be careful not to injure problematic joints.
  • Gout treatment varies per patient, but often includes anti-inflammatories to control swelling, corticosteroids as well as Colchicine (a plant-based medication that has been used to control gout for hundreds of years). In chronic cases, a daily uric-acid-reducing medication such as Allopurinol.
  • Other tips for those suffering an attack include: lower your stress (it aggravates the condition), rest, modify your diet to include anti inflammatory and low purine foods, apply ice to the area if possible and stay well hydrated (this can help lower uric acid).
  • Lastly, those who are prone to gout should consider adding tart cherries to their daily diet, as the medicinal properties of cherries for gout have been time (and research) proven. Read more about tart cherries and gout in our post about anti inflammatory foods.

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