Many people have had an episode of gout or know someone that has. Gout is a common type of arthritis that is caused by an increase in uric acid concentration in the blood. This leads to urate crystals that are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body. Sudden, red, tender and painful joints at the base of the big toe are characteristic of gout.
Uric acid is a break down product of purines. Purines are found in the body as well as in certain foods. Typically, the uric acid will dissolve in your blood, be filtered through your kidneys and eliminated in your urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys do not excrete enough, then the uric acid can build up producing urate crystals in joints and/or tissues causing severe pain and discomfort known as gout.
- Diet: high purine and high fructose diet
- Low water intake
- Family history of gout
- Age and sex: Men and postmenopausal women
- Medical Conditions: High blood pressure, diabetes,
- metabolic syndrome, heart and kidney disease
- Medications: Thiazide diuretics used to treat hypertension and low dose aspirin can raise uric acid levels.
- Recent surgery or trauma
Gout is typically diagnosed based on a joint fluid test, where fluid is aspirated from the joint and visualized under a microscope looking for urate crystals. Blood tests are frequently used but can be misleading. A high uric acid level in the blood does not mean you have gout and a normal value does not mean you do not have gout. X-rays, ultrasound, and dual energy CT can be used to visualize the presence of urate crystals in the joints. Conventional treatments for gout include NSAIDS, Colchicine, and steroids.
Even though prescription medication is a vital part in the treatment of gout, there are many holistic adjunctive ways to support the body naturally. Lifestyle modifications, botanical medicine, and nutrition can help decrease your risk for a flare. Lower the amount of alcoholic beverages and high purine foods you consume, as well as, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly will help decrease gout attacks. Coffee, Vitamin C and Cherry juice have all been researched for lowering uric acid levels. For more information on how you can decrease your risk for gout, contact Dr. Nicholas Morgan and Dr. Lanae Mullane at The Center for Integrative Wellness.
Foods High in Purines (According to John Hopkins)