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Arthritis Health Center

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Gout - Home Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with gout, you can do a lot on your own to treat your condition.

Decrease the pain of an acute attack

  • Rest the affected joint until the attack eases and for 24 hours after the attack.
  • Elevate painful joints.
  • Use ice to reduce swelling.
  • Relieve inflammation by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). But don't take aspirin, which may abruptly change uric acid levels and may make symptoms worse. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Prevent more attacks

  • Control your weight. Being overweight increases your risk for gout. If you are overweight, a diet that is low in fat may help you lose weight. But avoid fasting or very low-calorie diets. Very low-calorie diets increase the amount of uric acid produced by the body and may bring on a gout attack. To learn more, see the topic Weight Management.
  • Follow a moderate exercise program.
  • Limit alcohol, especially beer. Alcohol can reduce the release of uric acid by the kidneys into your urine, causing an increase of uric acid in your body. Beer, which is rich in purines, appears to be worse than some other beverages that contain alcohol.
  • Limit meat and seafood. Diets high in meat and seafood (high-purine foods) can raise uric acid levels.
    actionset.gif Gout: Changing Your Diet
  • Talk to your doctor about all the medicines you take. Some medicines may raise the uric acid level.
  • Continue to take the medicines prescribed to you for gout. But if you weren't taking medicines that lower uric acid (such as allopurinol or probenecid) before the attack, don't start taking them when the attack begins. These medicines won't help relieve acute pain. They may actually make it worse.

In the past, gout was thought to be caused by drinking too much alcohol and eating too many rich foods. Although eating certain foods and drinking alcohol may trigger a rise in the level of uric acid in the body, these habits may not by themselves cause gout. Gout is most often caused by an overproduction of uric acid (due to metabolism problems) or decreased elimination of uric acid by the kidneys.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 30, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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