While rarely fatal, gout can be a debilitating health condition.
Gout is getting increasingly common in modern society, partly due to our increased life expectancy, and also our changing diet, which is rich in red meats, seafood and alcohol. While gout is rarely fatal, it can be debilitating, with the affected joints becoming tender and swollen, resulting in excruciating pain even to the slightest touch.
What causes Gout?
Gout (known as hyperuricemia) is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. This could be due to two main reasons: inability to get rid of uric acid or creating too much uric acid, or both, leading to a build up in the body. However, not everyone who has hyperuricemia will develop symptoms, and only those suffering need to be treated.
In order to further lower your uric acid level, your doctor might start you on a long-term treatment. In general, there will be two groups of medicines available (prescription required). These are Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitor, such as Allopurinol, and Uricosuric Agent, such as Probenecid.
How can I Better Manage my Gout?
Lifestyle changes are highly recommended in order to better manage your condition. Here are a few tips for you to follow:
- Consume alcohol in moderation. Alcohol will both increase your production of uric acid and decrease the ability to excrete uric acid. More than two standard alcoholic drinks a day for men and one standard drink for women increases the risk of developing gout.
- Drink more water. Two to four litres of water each day is recommended water intake for a healthy adult. This would help your kidneys excrete uric acid more efficiently.
- Control your diet. Avoid foods high in purines, as uric acid id the final product of purine metabolism. Examples are red meat and seafood.
- Review medication with your healthcare professional. If you are on the other chronic medications, go through the list with your doctor to ensure that the medication isn’t increasing your risk of gout attacks.