Gout is a common and complex type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels. The uric acid forms crystals that accumulate in the synovial cavity of the joints. Gouty arthritis takes a long course before it develops into a disease. It equally affects both men and women, although it is more common in men. Luckily, the disease could be treated with a proper diet and lifestyle change like those emphasised in our protocol.
Gout is a growing concern worldwide and is also associated with dreaded diseases like metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The disease is also a major health concern in our country because of its increasing prevalence. A study was conducted by the Department of Rheumatology in Princess Alexandra Hospital and they discovered that the rate of gout in Australia is relatively high compared to other countries.
Gout is 9 times more common in men than in women and is highly prevalent in the middle-aged group. However, women are also at risk of having gout especially in their post-menopausal period. It usually occurs to those who are obese and have a high blood pressure. In Australia, heavy alcohol drinkers and regular meat eaters are noticed to be prone in having gout.
Signs and symptoms
Gout is a type of arthritis which produces swelling or reddish discolouration of the joints. The disease usually affects joints of the big toe, ankles, feet, and knees. Gout attacks would indicate occurrence of excruciating joint pain and severe joint tenderness that even the slightest touch could be unbearable. Gout attacks occur suddenly and it often occurs when the disease is left untreated. Fever and chills could also occur during acute gout attacks.
Causes and how it affects the body
Gout is caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joints. Diet and lifestyle are the two major factors associated with the development of gout.
Uric acid is an end product of purine breakdown. Purine is a substance that naturally occurs in seafood, organ meats, alcoholic beverages, and sweetened drinks. Chronic intake of food rich in uric acid causes the development of urate or MSU crystals. These sharp and needle-like crystals produce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joints.
Gout is mainly an inflammatory condition that is why it causes arthritic symptoms. Once the urate crystals accumulate in the synovial fluid, a generalized inflammatory response would occur. The body tries to remove the crystals by releasing inflammatory and chemical mediators. However, this process is slow and not enough to resolve the condition.
With the continuous presence of a faulty diet, the urate crystals will continue to accumulate in the joints. The synovial fluid is naturally free from crystals to allow a full range of motion. Movement and joint range of motion is severely impaired by the presence of MSU crystals. With every movement, the sharp and needle-like crystals further damage the joint structure causing more inflammation. This is the reason why the affected joint is often swollen, painful, reddish, and inflamed.
Other risk factors:
• Obesity is a risk factor because of the production of more uric acid.
• Medical conditions such as hypertension and kidney disease also associated factors due to the inadequate removal of uric acid.
• People with a family history of gout are also prone to have the disease.
Proper diagnosis is important in the management of gout. We recommend a doctor’s visit if you’re currently suffering from gout symptoms and have associated risk factors. Since there are different types of arthritis, it is essential to confirm that the joint pains you experience are caused by gouty arthritis. A blood test is done to measure uric acid levels in the blood. Fluid from the inflamed joint could also be tested to determine the presence of urate crystals. Other imaging tests usually requested to diagnose gout are x-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed but they only provide temporary relief of sudden gout attacks. They initially address the inflammatory condition caused by gout. However, they do not really alter the disease process or target the primary cause. The current trend in the management of gout now concentrates on proper diet, weight reduction, and reduced alcohol intake.
• Weight loss
Obesity increase gout attacks because it further promotes the production of uric acid. That is why patients are advised to maintain a healthy weight to reduce gout risks and symptoms. Studies show that people with gout who were able to lose weight had lesser symptoms and reduced number of gout attacks. Maintaining a healthy weight also protects the joints from further damage and stress.
Rheumatologists and nutritionists do agree that proper diet can effectively manage and prevent the condition. A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology stated that the intake of protein and dairy products can significantly improve uric acid levels. Because of this, people with gout are advised to follow a diet that promotes the intake of cherries, celery, dairy and our high quality protein products.
Eating protein is highly beneficial for the management of gout. Protein is very important for tissue repair and in maintaining the structure of the joints. Including protein in your diet will help your joints to heal faster and recover from the inflammation. In general, quality protein decreases uric acid levels, reduces inflammatory symptoms, and promotes faster joint healing. What you need is a proper diet program for gout and our high quality protein products for a holistic management of the condition.
Gout is a disease that warrants early treatment. If it is not properly managed, it could lead to complications like kidney stones, hypertension, and diabetes. There are many treatment options available for gout that is why people suffering from gout symptoms are advised to seek medical assistance.
Our revolutionary protocol is an individualised approach that can cater to your specific needs. Patients with gout need proper guidance on how to follow a healthy diet. We offer guidance and counseling for the management and prevention of gout. Alcohol, overeating, dieting and dehydration can trigger a gout attack. Reduce excess body weight. Cut down on excessive alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water and avoid fructose, let us help you achieve this.
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- Choi, H. K., Liu, S. and Curhan, G. (2005), Intake of purine-rich foods, protein, and dairy products and relationship to serum levels of uric acid: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 52: 283–289. doi: 10.1002/art.20761
- No Author. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on 22 May 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gout-diet/art-20048524.
- Robinson, P.C., Taylor, W.J., & Merriman, T.R. (2012) Systematic review of the prevalence of gout and hyperuricaemia in Australia. Internal Medicine Journal. doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2012.02794.x.
- Robinson, P.C., & Horsburgh, S. (2014) Gout: Joints and beyond, epidemiology, clinical features, treatment and co-morbidities. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.05.001
- Shulten, P., Thomas, J., Miller, M., Smith, M. and Ahern, M. (2009), The role of diet in the management of gout: a comparison of knowledge and attitudes to current evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 22: 3–11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2008.00928.x