inflammatory joint disease causing acute pain and swelling, usually develops
after a number of years of buildup of
uric acid crystals in the joints and surrounding
tissue. If you have been diagnosed with gout, take steps to:
Decrease the pain of an acute attack.
Rest the affected joint until the attack
eases and for 24 hours after the attack.
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. For more information, see the topic
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
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
Talk to your doctor about medicines you take. Certain
medicines that are given for other conditions reduce the amount of uric acid
eliminated by the kidneys. These include pills that reduce the amount of salt
and water in the body (diuretics, or "water pills") and
niacin. Regular use of low-dose aspirin may raise the uric acid level. Since
low-dose aspirin may be important for the prevention of stroke or heart attack,
your doctor may want you to continue to take low-dose aspirin.
Make changes to reduce your risk.
Keep your weight within the normal range
for your height.
Have an evaluation for lead poisoning if you
have been exposed to lead in your job or through hobbies.
Continue to take the medicines prescribed to you
for gout. But if you have not been taking medicines that lower uric acid (such
as probenecid or
allopurinol) prior to the attack, do not begin taking
it when the attack begins. These medicines will not help relieve acute pain and
may actually make it worse.
In the past, gout was thought to be due to 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.