Gout: Causes, Remedies, Medication, Diet & Foods To Avoid

By on January 26, 2016
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Gout – What you need to know about it

Gout in right big toe, with advanced swelling

Gout in right big toe, with advanced swelling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Gout is a painful type of arthritis that can trigger a sudden sensational pain, stiffness and swelling in a joint and it affects mostly a big toe, its more susceptible in men but also happens to women who have reached menopause.

Gout attacks re-occurs over and over again over time unless it is treated and it can hurt the joints, tendons and other tissues.

Gout is triggered when there is too much uric acid in the blood stream, but having lots of uric acid is not harmful because many people living with high uric acid in their blood never experience gout. But it’s important to understand that when uric acid level in the blood is too high, it can form hard crystals in the joints.

Gout attacks come mostly at night time in the form of tenderness, swelling, redness and sharp pains in the big toe. It can also attack the foot, ankle, knees or other joints. The attacks sometimes last a few weeks or days before the pain subsides and later to come again for many months or years


Causes of Gout

Gout happens when there is an excess of uric acid in the body, Uric acid results from the decomposition of a substance called purines which is found in all of the body’s tissues. Purines can also be found in foods like dried beans, peas, anchovies and liver.

Ideally uric acid dissolves in the blood, it passes through the kidneys and out of the body in form of urine. If there’s too much uric acid produced and not enough of it excreted then it builds up to form a needle like crystals which causes inflammation and pain in the joints and tissues around it.

Hyperuricemia is a condition that occurs when uric acid levels in the blood are high, Lots of people who have hyperuricemia may not develop gout, but the exception is that, if excess uric acid crystals build up in the body then gout is likely to occur.


Other factors that can cause gout includes
Excess consumption of alcohol because it interferes or hinders the removal of uric acid from the body.

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High purine diet can also increase the amount of uric acid in the body

Obesity can also increase the risk of gout due to the excess turnover of body tissue which is equal to more uric acid production as a metabolic waste product.

High level of body fat increases the level of systemic inflammation due to the fact that fat cells produce pro-inflammatory cytokines

Men produce more uric acid than women, but women who have reached menopause tend to produce as much uric acid as men

Genetics, if gout runs in the family when the chance of it developing is pretty high

Exposure to lead may also cause gout

Diuretics and medicines high in salicylate can increase the uric acid level in the body

Other health problems like renal insufficiency and kidney issues may reduce the body’s capability to effectively remove waste from the body, thereby leading to increased uric acid levels

Hypertension, diabetes and hypothyroidism may also cause gout.


Gout Symptoms to look out for

  • The symptoms of gout happen immediately mostly at night without any prior warning, and some of the symptoms could include
  • Limited motion range, you may experience reduced joint mobility as the gout advances
  • Tingling discomfort after the severe pain goes away, some joint tingling discomfort can last up to a few days or weeks, while additional attacks later affect the joints more
  • Severe joint pain as gout normally attacks the large joint of the big toe, but occasionally it attacks the ankles, knees, hands and wrists. Furthermore the pain is very intense within the first 4 to 12 hours when it begins


Gout Diet

Gout diet consists of foods to help relieve the painful swelling (inflammation) and to prevent further attacks, with regards to a number of factors like general health and medical history, age and seriousness of the condition, diet options may vary. Furthermore a gout diet should help control the uric acid levels in the body as well as promote overall health.

Gout Foods

According to the American College of Rheumatology, any diet that has contains an excessive amount of these foods listed can cause gout

  • Alcohol
  • Beverages filled with sugar
  • Seafood
  • Red meat

Foods that help with Gout

Drink more water, because when dehydrated chances of triggering gout is higher. A study has shown that men who drank at least 5 glasses of water within 24 hours had a 40% lower risk of gout attacks

Be sure to eat a balanced diet

Lose excess weight as this can help with your symptoms

Eat lots of fruits as it provides good diet fibre, carbohydrates and other nutrients which can help lead a balanced diet and weight management. Fruits also have very low purine content, fruits high in vitamin C such as oranges and tangerines can actually help prevent gout attacks. Also research has shown that cherries can also help relief gout

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Eat foods with essential fatty acids like tuna, salmon, flaxseed, sesame seeds and nuts. Fatty acids helps relief inflammation, you can also switch to using oils rich in fatty acids like olive oil for cooking and salads

For some people, drinking coffee moderately say 4 or more cups a day can actually help them lower the risk of gout attacks, while in some people drinking beverages with caffeine can raise their uric acid levels even if drunk occasionally, so it’s best to check with your doctor to know if caffeine causes gout attacks for you

You can low fat dairy, they are low in purines and don’t seem to cause gout rather they may lower the risk of gout by up to 40%. Interestingly during a gout attack, drinking low fat dairy products can actually help you eliminate extra uric acid through your urine


Here is a list of foods to include in your diet

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans and lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grains like barley, brown rice and oats
  • Legumes
  • sweet potatoes
  • fluids, water most especially
  • Low fat or fat free dairy

Foods to avoid with Gout

  • Avoid sugary sodas as it can raise the risk of gout
  • Avoid foods high in purine, purine is found naturally in almost every food and the body breaks it down into uric acids and too much of this uric acid leads to gout
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption, the purine content in alcoholic beverages is very high, beer been the worst of them all because it contains yeast but with the exception of moderate drinking of wine which does not appear to raise the risk of gout because of some anti-oxidant properties in it.
  • Eat less meat, meats like liver have high levels of purines and should be avoided, while meats like chicken, pork and grass fed beef have lower levels of purine and should be taken in limited amounts, at most, one serving per day

Foods that cause Gout

Here is a list of foods that can cause gout because they all have high purine content which increases the level of uric acid in the body, they include

  • Yeast
  • brain
  • heart
  • liver
  • lamb
  • sardines
  • organ meats
  • beef
  • mackerel
  • mussels
  • smelt
  • scallops
  • tuna
  • herring
  • anchovies
  • beer and liquor
  • sweetened fruit juice
  • soda
  • grouse
  • mutton
  • haddack
  • goose
  • turkey
  • bacon
  • salmon
  • trout
  • partridge

Here is a shopping list for gout  you can use from now on

Gout Treatment

Gout can be treated using medicines like

  • Nonsterodial anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Colchicine which works most effectively when taken in the first 12 hours of an attack
  • Corticosteriods like prednisone

Most times talking some of the mentioned drugs above in little doses can actually help prevent future attacks, and taking the following steps below can also help, they include

Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight, be sure to confirm with your doctor if fast or extreme weight loss may increase uric acid levels in the blood

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Take medicines prescribed by the doctor as directed

Plan subsequent visits with your doctor

Eat a healthy balanced diet while avoiding foods high in purines and drink plenty of water

Be sure to inform your doctor about any other medicines and supplements you are taking.

Gout Medication

Click here to get a comprehensive list of common drugs and medication to treat Gouts

Click here to read a review of Gout drugs you can use

Gout Remedies

The emphatic cause of gout is an imbalance of the body system which causes acidosis, in other words this means the body’s pH is imbalanced and the body is trying so hard to get back in balance in anyway it possibly could.

So here are some home remedies you can use for Gout

  • Use of baking soda, mix baking soda in water, this can help relieve pain almost instantly although it may take 1-2 days. Mix half teaspoon of baking soda in 8 0z of water and drink it all at once, there may be need to repeat this a few times a day taking up to 3 teaspoons total, make sure you reduce the dose as the pain fades away.
  • Warning: The max recommended dose is 4 teaspoons per day, if you suffer from hypertension you need to use baking soda with serious caution because it raises the blood pressure when taken in large quantities
  • Use apple cider vinegar, this helps the body become more alkaline, apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a proven solution for lots of ailments including gout. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons in 8 ounces of water, you can drink it all at once or little by little, it’s best to try both methods to see which works best for you. Apple cider vinegar has been known to reduce gout pain by up to 90% within a day or 2. But please make sure you use organic apple cider vinegar.
  • Use a cane or similar support to keep weight off the hot and swollen joint, and make sure the joint is elevated above the chest as much as possible
  • Use ice packs to relieve the pain and inflammation.
  • Stay hydrated always to help flush out excess uric acid in the body by drinking lots of water
  • Stay clear off or reduce your alcohol consumption as alcohol dehydrates the body thereby making it difficult for excess uric acids to be flushed out of the body
  • Eat lots of cherries,
  • Eat lots of pineapples to get bromelain, an enzyme which is regularly recommended for people suffering from gout and has been proven to have anti-cancer properties
  • Drinking beet juice helps prevent acidosis while stimulating the lover to cleanse bile ducts
  • Increase vitamin C consumption as evidence proves that it reduces uric acid
  • Reduce caffeine consumption
  • Exercising regularly is a good way to decrease uric acid levels due to the insulin normalizing effect it has.


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