Lifestyle Changes Can Make Gout Attacks Less Likely
When you consider how much pain gout causes, it makes sense to try and prevent the problem flaring up. A key approach is to consume fewer foods and drinks containing high levels of purines, substances that lead to a uric acid build-up. A low-purine diet means avoiding beer, rich meats such as bacon, pork and liver, as well as many types of fish, seafood and shellfish.
The link between gout and over-indulgence is why the condition was known historically as the rich mans disease. Being a healthy weight, drinking plenty of water to flush out uric acid and exercising regularly can all help you to avoid gout attacks.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP may ask about your diet and if you drink alcohol.
They may refer you to see a specialist and arrange a blood test and scan. Sometimes a thin needle is used to take a sample of fluid from inside the affected joint, to test it.
The blood test will find out how much of a chemical called uric acid there is in your blood.
Having too much uric acid in your blood can lead to crystals forming around your joints, which causes pain.
What Is Gout In The Foot
Gout is another form of arthritis where the joints get inflamed and started swelling. In most gout cases, it generally affects the feet and big toe, but it can affect fingertips, knee joint, and elbow in other types of gout.
Gout pain attack comes without any notification and can occur repeatedly. It damages the tissue slowly in the affected region.
Both men and women can experience gout pain, who overindulge food that increases the bloods uric acid level.
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What To Do After A Gout Flare
While its possible to have an isolated gout attack, normally once gout strikes youll need prolonged therapy to manage it, says Dr. Saag. If you dont take regular uric-acid lowering medication or find another way to get your uric acid levels down cutting back on alcohol, losing weight, and cutting back on high-purine foods may make a difference over time you will likely experience shorter intervals between gout flares, he explains. Gout ultimately becomes a chronic arthritis, and it can be quite disabling.
Avoid Purine Loaded Foods
So far, we had been talking about eliminating or preventing uric acid. What if we also analyze the way uric acid is formed and stop the very source that produces this acid leading to gout! The uric acid in your blood is due to the breakdown of chemicals called purines. Purines come from having too much of organ meats, certain fish, dried peas, lentils and legumes. So avoid these foods. At least cut down on them in a major way and totally avoid them when you are under a gout attack. This is the list of purine foods that you should try to avoid.
- Organ Meats including liver, kidney, brains
- Red meat
However, since fish is good for the heart and overall health, try to have other fish that do not have high contents of purines. You should anyways limit such intake to about 170 gms daily. When there are gout flare-ups, totally avoid animal protein.
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How Does Ice Help Injuries
So how does ice treatment work? With an injury, swelling accumulates in the affected area which causes two problems.
Firstly, there are chemicals in the fluid that aggravate and irritate the nerves fibres causing pain. Secondly, the pressure from the swelling causes pain and limits the amount of movement that the joint can perform e.g. how much you can bend and straighten the knee.
Ice treatment can help in two ways:
- Firstly, the cold from the ice has an analgesic effect which reduces pain
- Secondly, it helps to reduce the amount of bleeding into the joint and soft tissues thus reducing swelling and any associated muscle spasms
Cryotherapy treatment is therefore an important and effective treatment for soft tissue injuries such as a knee sprain or muscle tear.
Help From Other Fruits And Veggies
Just like the dark colored fruits including cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, there are many other fruits that can help you in getting relief from gout. Which fruit can provide gout relief in what ways can be known from the below facts?
I. Apple:There is this acid called malic acid in apple which helps in neutralizing the excessive uric acid in your body. You can go by the old saying- an apple a day keeps gout away! If you can have this apple after a meal, even better. This will help neutralize the uric acid faster to give you relief from pain and inflammation. You can even have apple juice. You may also use homemade apple preserves. Whatever way, you should have apples.
II. Banana: The high amount of potassium and phosphorus in bananas are capable of altering uric acid crystals into a liquid which can be easily flushed out of your system. Bananas also have a high content of vitamin C that can give you relief from pain and swelling. Therefore, you should have at least one to two bananas a day.
III. Grapes: Grapes are alkaline foods and again help in neutralizing uric acid. They also avoid building up of acid and help in eliminating it from a body. However, if you are diabetic, you should consult with your doctor before adding grapes and even bananas to your diet.
IV. Orange: Oranges are beneficial for the same reason- their citric acid and vitamin C which help in neutralizing uric acid. Orange juice is also beneficial for you.
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When Can You Use Cold Compress In Gout
While applying a cold compress, you have to follow certain guidelines else the cold can damage your skin. You should not apply ice directly on the skin and take some precautions.
- Cold therapy can be painful for your skin. So, always wrap the cold plastic bag or ice in a towel and compress the affected area.
- Donât continue the cold therapy for more than 20 minutes.
- If you have symptoms of cold allergy, Raynaudâs syndrome or nerve damage, avoid cold compress.
Have Lime Juice To Neutralize Uric Acid
I have not included lemon in the list of fruits for three reasons. One, you may not deem it a fruit. Two, I wanted to emphasize the importance of lemon and lime juice for gout remedy and three, you may or may not have fruits on a regular basis but if you suffer from gout, you should make it a point to have fresh lime juice twice or thrice a day. Just squeeze a lemon into a glass of water and have it. You may even include lime juice in your meals- in raw form though. The citric acid in lemon neutralizes the excessive uric acid in your blood giving your body alkalinity.
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Effective Medical Treatment For Gout
The American College of Rheumatology released gout management guidelines in 2012 and updated them in 2020. They recommend drugs classified as urate-lowering therapy for those who have experienced two or more gout attacks in a year as well as for those with joint damage from gout.
Specifically, the organization recommends allopurinol as a first-line treatment for all gout patients, even those with chronic kidney disease. Next in line is febuxostat both are a class of drugs called xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
In addition, the guidelines recommend use of anti-inflammatory medications including NSAIDs, prednisone, or colchicine along with the other medication.
Where Does A Gout Attack Occur
Gout often attacks the largest joint in your big toe. However, it can also attack the foot, ankle knees, hands, or wrists. Intense pain, redness, and swelling can start with no warning, although you may have warning signs of an impending attack. If you start to feel tingling, burning, or itching in a joint, your body is giving you a warning signal that a flare-up is imminent.
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How Many Times To Ice And Other Useful Tidbits
Generally, icing in any combination from above methods, is recommended 3-5 times a day. You may ice more than 3-5 times a day. Follow guidelines for each method to avoid cold damage.
For nerve compression syndromes like carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel and radial tunnel, ice pack is recommended for 12 to 15 minutes. For tendonitis, such as tennis elbow or tendonitis of the wrist or thumb, I recommend ice cup direct ice massage at least 1-2 times a day, and ice pack 2-3 times a day to make up the difference, for a total of 3-5 times per day. If you can do the ice massage 3 to 5 times a day, great! Although my specialty as an occupational therapist is upper extremity, I have had ice prescribed to me personally for my knees for arthritis as well as occasional patellar tendonitis. I sometimes use ice packs, but tend to cut to the chase and do direct ice massage for my knees.
The nerves are very close to the surface of the skin at the cubital tunnel, or funny bone on the inside of the elbow, and snuffbox, at the base of the thumb at the wrist. Sometimes, such as when the barometer drops, these areas can be sensitive to direct ice massage. You will experience an intense nerve ache. Try ice pack instead. You can try an extra layer of towel with your ice pack if needed. Another option is a Karo Syrup ice pack, which is not as intensely cold as the slushy ice pack.
Treating Gout At Home
This section on how to relieve gout pain is a very useful reference for those nights when you wake
up in agony. When you have a gout attack, you need to get the uric acid out of your system and treat
Relax and keep your body calm.
Take proper medication.
For some people an over the counter anti inflammatory such as ibuprofen may be helpful but read the package insert carefully or discuss with the pharmacist.
Ice the affected area and elevate the joint.
If the pain is severe and doesnt diminish, its recommended to seek medical advice.
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Leading A Gout Free Life
In order to avoid gout attacks, your gout physician may prescribe a medication to reduce the buildup of uric acid in your blood. In most cases patients take this medicine for their entire life, but there are things that you can do reduce the chances of needing a lifetime of medication. Pay special attention to what you eat. This can help you manage the buildup and uric acid and reduce the frequency and duration of your gout attacks. Eating appropriate amounts of a healthy variety of foods to keep your weight under control and to get the nutrition you need. Try to avoid frequent or daily meals consisting of meat, seafood, and alcohol. As always you should drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
Comforting Compresses Soaks Baths
While hot and cold compresses do well in other types of pain, they are not beneficial in gout-relief. Reason. When you use a hot pad around the gout swelling, blood circulation speeds up sending more blood to the area resulting in further inflammation. When you use an ice pack to comfort the gout pain, its low temperature helps in further crystallizing the uric acid leading to even more pain and swelling. Therefore, you need some special compresses, poultice, baths and soaks for your gout problem. Here are some suggestions for you.
I. Mustard compress: Take one part each of mustard powder and whole wheat flour. Add water to this mixture to get a paste. Place a thick coat of this paste on a clean cloth. Now place this cloth having mustard paste in it on gout affected region. If needed, use tape to keep it in place. Leave overnight or at least for few hours before removing the poultice.
II. Castor oil:Warm the castor oil. With the help of a cotton ball, apply the warm oil on your gout affected joint.
III. Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal can adsorb uric acid so you may take a charcoal bath two or three times a week. Mix the well half cup of charcoal powder in some water to make a paste. Place this paste in a tub and add more water to it. Now soak your gout affected joint in this water for 30 minutes. If you cant soak your joint , just apply the charcoal paste there and leave for half an hour. Wash with lukewarm water.
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Gout Pain Relief Cooling Ice Pack Wrap
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Drink Drink Drink Water
Uric acid in your blood is the culprit. The excessive uric acid that cant be excreted out of your system by your kidneys not only forms kidney stones but also leads to gout by crystallizing itself at the joints. The pain and swelling at your big toe or at heels, ankles, knees and elbows are caused by crystallization of this excess uric acid only. So, its better to expel it out of your body before it gets a chance to crystallize. For this, you have to drink a lot of water. Water in your case or anyone who suffers from gout is the elixir of life! Make it a habit of drinking a glass of water every 30-40 minutes. You can even have other healthy beverages like coconut water, lime juice and fruit juices. If so, you may keep your water intake somewhat low but ensure that whatever amount of fluid you are having during the day, half of it should be water.
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What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Gout
Medications for acute gout attack: These medications are usually prescribed to treat an acute attack of gout:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs : These can quickly relieve the pain and swelling of an acute gout episode. They can shorten the attack, especially if taken in the first 24 hours.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into an inflamed joint to quickly relieve the pain and swelling of an acute attack. Corticosteroids usually start working within 24 hours after they are taken.
- Colchicine: An anti-inflammatory medicine that works best if taken within the first 24 hours of a gout attack.
Medications for reducing uric acid levels: These are usually prescribed after an acute attack ends to reduce uric acid levels in the body to prevent future attacks.
- Colchicine: Regular and low doses of colchicine may be given along with other medications below to prevent flare-ups.
- Allopurinol: It reduces uric acid production in the body.
- : It reduces uric acid production in the body.
- Probenecid: It acts on the kidneys to help eliminate uric acid.
- Pegloticase: This is a medication that is injected every 2 weeks. It reduces uric acid quickly and used when other medications fail.
Lifestyle and home remedies to treat acute gout and can prevent recurrent attacks:
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption and drinks sweetened with fructose
- Limiting intake of foods high in purines, such as red meat, organ meats, and seafood
- Drinking plenty of fluids
Applying Ice To Affected Joints
Applying a cloth-covered ice pack to the joint can help reduce gout-related inflammation.
Try applying an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for 1015 minutes at a time to help relieve pain.
If gout is affecting the feet, a person can also use a pack of frozen vegetables covered with a washcloth, as this may drape more easily over the feet.
Heightened stress can worsen a persons gout symptoms. While it is not always possible to eliminate all sources of stress, the following tips might help:
- exercising, such as taking a brief walk, if the pain does not limit movement
- asking for time off from work
- journaling or reading a favorite book
- listening to music
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If You Are Having Repeated Attacks See Your Doctor
Some patients can go a long time between attacks. In fact, for 62 percent of patients the next attack will be more than a year away, and some won’t have another attack in the next 10 years. However, if you begin to have more frequent attacks, talk to your doctor about escalating treatment. People think its normal to have flares every now and then, but its not. The gout can be doing damage to your joints. It means you still have too much uric acid, says Shakouri. In particular, ask about allpurinol. It wont help with an acute attack but will help prevent future attacks by reducing uric acid production.
How To Use Epsom Salt
To help reduce the inflammation during a gout flare add 1/2 a cup of Epsom salt into a basin of hot water and soak the affected foot or joint for around 20 minutes. The water should be as hot as is comfortable.
Where the affected joint is difficult to position in a basin, add 2 full cups of Epsom salt into a bath containing hot water and soak your body for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times per week.
Another way to use this home remedy is to apply a compress over / around the affected area. Just soak a cloth or towel in hot water containing Epsom salt.
Be careful though
- Dont use Epsom salt in higher doses than recommended by your healthcare provider or on the package. Taking too much can cause serious, even life-threatening side effects.
- Dont use if youre pregnant. Magnesium sulfate can cause low calcium and bone problems in unborn babies.
- Magnesium has a drying effect on the skin. So moisturize well after every soak.
- For the same reason, if you have diabetes it may be best to avoid soaking as this can lead to irritation, dry / cracked skin, and possible infections. This is especially relevant for a foot soak.
- If you suspect that you or someone else has overdosed on Epsom salt then seek immediate medical help.
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