Gout is a common condition that is currently affecting approximately 9.2 million people in the United States, which is about 3.9 percent of the country’s adult population. In the past, this condition was commonly referred to as the “disease of kings” because it was mainly associated with people who had enough money to overindulge in drinks and food.
But people are now realizing that this disease can affect anyone irrespective of their economic status. Since this disease is commonly associated with diet, this article offers the 5 common foods that cause gout to help you avoid the ailment.
5 Foods That Cause Gout
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Before you even think about the foods that cause gout, you need to understand what gout is and how it occurs. That way, you can easily find ways to prevent it. Gout is a type of arthritis that usually affects your big toe joints.
This disease can also affect other toe joints, knees, and ankles. When it occurs, gout causes severe flare-ups in the above-mentioned joints, resulting in severe pain and remission intervals when the pain subsides. Unfortunately, this pain occurs without warning and can last for several days, if not weeks.
Remission intervals, on the other hand, can last for several years, depending on your lifestyle. The main sign of gout is extreme pain and swelling in the joints listed above. Sometimes the affected joints will turn red and feel warm even when the temperatures are significantly low.
Although most gout flare-ups can last for weeks, the very first gout IQ flare-up doesn’t last long and it’s usually less severe. But the subsequent ones last longer and are increasingly more painful.
So, after your first gout flare-up, the whole experience continues to deteriorate until you’re completely incapacitated. That’s why you should identify common food items that are likely to cause frequent flare-ups and eliminate them from your diet to prolong your remission phases.
Main Causes of Gout
Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in your body. Under normal circumstances, uric acid should melt in your blood. So, gout occurs when uric acid fails to dissolve in your blood and instead forms sharp, painful crystals.
The same crystals are known to cause kidney stones. This uric acid buildup is normally caused by purines, which are found in some foods and certain body tissues. The more purines you have in your body, the higher the chance of developing gout. Here are other major risk factors for gout:
1. Being male
2. Excess body weight
3. Cases of gout in other family members
4. Taking diuretics
5. Excessive consumption of alcohol
6. Excess purines in your diet
7. Overconsumption of fructose
8. Suffering from chronic conditions like:
• High blood pressure
• Congestive heart failure
• Kidney problems
• Metabolic syndrome
Aside from unexplained joint pain and swelling, you can also know if you’re suffering from gout through medical tests. Your doctor will analyze your medical history and carefully examine your initial symptoms to know if you have the disease. They’ll also do a physical examination to eliminate other possible conditions that resemble gout.
In some instances, your physician may order an x-ray of the affected joints or take a sample of bodily fluid from the affected area to test it for uric acid. They’ll also use this sample to test for a bacterial infection because it can also present similar symptoms. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between gout and other types of arthritis. But with a combination of physical examination, fluid testing, and discussions with your medical doctor, it’s easy to detect it.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an outright treatment for gout. So, you have to manage it with drugs and lifestyle changes. Some of the most effective lifestyle changes that can help you prevent IQ gout flare-ups include losing excess body weight, limiting alcohol consumption, eliminating foods that cause gout from your diet, and exercising regularly.
You can also ask your doctor to give you medication that reduces uric acid levels in your body. These drugs include allopurinol, probenecid, pegloticase, and febuxostat. Your doctor may advise you to use some over-the-counter drugs to help you manage the pain caused by gout flare-ups. They include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Nevertheless, the most effective and sustainable way to treat gout is to make lifestyle changes and avoid foods that are known to exacerbate the condition. Here are the most common foods that cause gout.
Scallops may be perfect for the occasional indulgence, but you should be careful when eating them, especially during flare-ups. Scallops are highly rich in purines, which are broken down by your body into uric acid. The more scallops you consume, the higher the level of uric acid in your body.
The extra uric acid in your body will only result in more buildup, which will further irritate your gout symptoms and cause more pain in the affected joints. Although you can enjoy your scallops during remission, it’s advisable to cut back on them once and for all, especially if you’ve already developed signs of gout.
Red meat has been found to contain large amounts of purine, according to MedlinePlus. So, the more red meat you consume, the higher the risk of developing uric acid buildup, which results in gout. But this doesn’t mean that you eliminate red meat from your diet completely.
You just need to consume it moderately to avoid aggravating the already affected joints further. You should also limit your intake of organ meat like liver because it contains animal protein, which is very high in purines. Other organ meats to avoid if you have gout include kidneys and sweetbreads.
Sugary beverages like soda, juice, and energy drinks are major contributing factors too, especially those that have high-fructose corn syrup. If possible, avoid or limit your intake of non-diet sodas and fruit drinks because they have sweeteners that will stimulate your boy to produce more uric acid, leading to buildup. Research has also established that increased intake of fructose in sugary drinks leads to higher chances of developing gout.
As noted above, alcohol is a major contributing factor to gout. However, beer is the worst of all other alcoholic drinks. Therefore, if you must take alcohol, have a glass of wine in place of a bottle of beer. Alcohol contains large amounts of yeast and yeast extracts that can stimulate your body to produce more uric acid.
However, you should drink too much wine because it’ll increase your chances of developing gout. If you’ve already developed symptoms of gout, drinking too much alcohol will worsen the pain and swelling. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a maximum of two alcoholic drinks a day for people with gout. But medical professionals usually advise gout patients to avoid alcohol altogether, especially during IQ gout flare-ups.
Game Meats and Seafood
Game meat is often listed as one of the main causes of gout. Specialties like goose, turkey, venison, and veal, among others contain high levels of purines that produce uric acid. This type of meat is one of the reasons why gout was traditionally referred to as the “rich man’s disease”.
Apart from scallops, you should also limit your consumption of other common types of seafood, including tuna, codfish, herring, haddock, trout, and mussels, among others.