What Is Gout
Gout is a form of arthritis based on inflammation that develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in their blood. The uric acid forms needle-like crystals in a joint that causes sudden swelling, tenderness, warmth, and pain.
There are four stages of gout:
When you first experience gout there will be no symptoms but your blood will begin to have high forms of uric acid in it and crystals will begin forming in your joints.
This is the stage where you’ll begin to experience a gout attack. When something happens, such as a night of drinking or a sudden fall, uric acid levels will spike and/or move the crystals that have formed in your joint, triggering an attack.
Inflammation and pain will typically strike at night and will continue for a few days. 60% of people who experience a gout attack will have a second one within a year and 84% will have another attack within three years.
Between gout attacks is when you’ll experience interval gout. There is no pain, but the gout is still present as your uric aside levels remain high and crystals have already formed in your joints.
This is the time to begin managing you gout with lifestyle changes or medication so you can prevent future attacks and avoid moving onto the forth and final stage,
When your uric acid levels remain high over a few years, you will likely develop chronic gout. With chronic gout you’ll experience more frequent attacks and the pain may not go entirely away after an attack.
In this stage you may additionally, experience joint damage and loss of mobility. This stage is preventable if you start making changes to your lifestyle within the first few years of experiencing gout.
What Causes Gout
While gout seems to come on suddenly, it’s the end result of something that’s been occurring in your body for a while.
While what may trigger a gout attack is different for many people, what remains the same is the excess uric acid found in the bloodstream of those living with gout. This condition is called hyperuricemia.
Uric acid is not inherently bad for you, as it forms in your body naturally when it breaks down purines (which are found in human cells and many foods). Uric acid is typically transported by the blood to the kidneys and removed from your body in the form of urine.
But, if you overproduce uric acid or produce a normal amount that your kidneys cannot filter effectively, then the uric acid builds up. Since it is not being removed from your body, it builds up in areas of your body (your joints).
While not everyone who experiences a build up of uric acid develops gout, most people do.
To avoid developing gout, you can make changes in your lifestyle such as removing high-purine foods, watching your weight, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
Typical Gout Attack Triggers
When you’ve already developed gout, you tend to know what triggers a gout attack, but there are two different ways you may trigger an attack: medical or lifestyle triggers.
Medical or health gout triggers:
The drug cyclosporine
Lifestyle gout attack trigger:
Prevent Gout Flare-ups
While you can avoid some lifestyle situations that trigger flare-ups, you cannot often change the medical circumstances contribute to flare-ups.
I have been living with gout for years and these tips have helped me to avoid gout attacks. Be sure to check out my video as well where I share the thing that has made the biggest difference in avoiding gout attacks (that even surprised me!)
Before we get into what you should eat to prevent flare-ups. Certain foods like red meat, fish, sugary drinks, alcohol, and especially, foods heavy in yeast, are high in purines that your body developed uric acid from.
Now that you know what to avoid, here’s what you can enjoy...
Interestingly enough, vegetables that are high in purines do not cause additional uric acid and gout attacks!
Make sure your diet is full of low-fat dairy (skim milk, cheese, and yogurt), beans and high protein plants, vitamin C, cherries, and lots of water to stay hydrated.
Another important aspect is being able to handle stress better in your life. While you cannot avoid all stress in life, you can build up a resilience to stress and have a toolbox of solutions to help your body. Download my free eBook, Strategies Over Stress to find the top solutions to managing stress.