Gout: How to Prevent It Through Diet and Drugs

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Gout. Isn’t that what people’s great-great-grandfathers suffered from? Gout’s not just a blast from the Victorian past – it’s still around now. Here we’ll share the lowdown on what you need to know.

The Disease of Kings

Gout used to be known as “the disease of Kings” because of its association with an indulgent lifestyle of wining and dining.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Failing to treat the underlying causes of gout make painful attacks of it more likely. The cause is a high level of uric acid in the blood. This in turn creates the uric crystals which cause pain in soft tissue. The uric acid is formed when you have a high level of purines in your body. Purines occur in some drinks and also in some high-protein foods. So, you increase your risk of gout when you take too many purines in your body, or when you inhibit your body’s ability to excrete uric acid, which otherwise can form uric crystals and trigger a gout outbreak.

Don’t “Pass the Port”! (or any alcohol)

Most people associate gout with high-drinking nineteenth century saloon heroes. That perception has basis in fact, and continues to be relevant today. Consuming alcohol in excess is a leading contributor to gout. The purines in alcohol metabolise to form uric acid. Beer is worst, as alcohol and brewer’s yeast both contribute. Brewer’s yeast is high in purines, while alcohol leads the liver to excrete alcohol and instead retain uric acid. But other alcoholic drinks also increase the likelihood of gout due to their purine level.

East Less Rich Food

Along with the port, old school literary gout sufferers were often feasting on legs of ham, creamy cheeses and other rich foods. Again, this linkage is medically accurate.  However that doesn’t mean that it’s only known unhealthy foods you need to watch. Purines are high in organ meats, meats in general and also game meat, as you would expect from the old novels. Even gravy contains a high level of purine. fish such as anchovies, sardines, herrings and scallops which in other regards are seen as healthy. Vegetables high in purines include mushrooms and asparagus.

Cut Out Soft Drinks

There is some debate about whether soft drinks can contribute to gout. Some scientists have linked gout to a high intake of sugar. That also applies to fructose, a form of sugar which is common in soft drinks and also in fruit juices. So-called energy drinks tend to be especially high in gout-inducing sugar. Researchers from Harvard and Boston medical schools found that gout became more prevalent in women who drank a lot of sugary sodas. Until menopause, women are less susceptible to gout because estrogen acts to excrete uric acid. As estrogen levels fall after the menopause, women who drank a lot of sugary sodas had higher incidence of gout.

Pharmaceutical Drugs Can Contribute

Some pharmaceutical drugs are also linked to gout, in which case you may end up having to choose between the lesser of two medical evils. For example, thiazide diuretics used to treat high blood pressure increase the likelihood of gout. So do cyclosporine which transplant patients use to reduce the risk of organ rejection, and even small doses of aspirin. In most cases your medical professional will likely be aware of this and consider it before prescribing you these drugs.

Have A Balanced Diet And Healthy Lifestyle

Gout’s not a problem which comes out of nowhere. We have seen above that it has a clear causal chain and in many cases reflects lifestyle and consumption choices over which you have control. Adapting your diet both of food and drinks is the simplest way to stop your body building up purines which it may end up converting to uric crystals. You can also work on how well your body is able to dispose of uric acids rather than converting them to uric crystals – anything which helps your digestive system stay healthy, active and operating at the right pace will help reduce the chance of gout.