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How To Manage Gout

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Gout is a disabling form of arthritis. The goal of managing gout is to decrease levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, measureable with a blood test. Repeated flare ups of gout can lead to disability and destroy quality of life.

Uric acid deposits that form around the joints from chronic gout can cause deformity. The disease is progressive and usually associated with other health problems that include kidney stones formed from uric acid. Gout can worsen existing kidney disease.

Symptoms of gout include white deposits under the skin of the toes, or finger pads, accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Deformity, redness and swelling might be present. Vitamin C, 1000-1500 mg daily is shown to help patients manage gout, and may even be protective. Drinking plenty of fluids is also important, unless you are restricted for medical reasons.

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Exercise, low cholesterol foods, and avoidance of red meat, organ meats, wild game, and seafood are especially important for dietary management of gout. Beer can make symptoms worse. Avoiding any form of alcohol is beneficial for lowering uric acid levels, and improving gout symptoms. Weight loss is important and should be a goal.

High fructose corn syrup is believed to make the disease worse, and should be avoided. Eating fresh whole foods is best. Soft drinks containing fructose increases the risk of gout for men.

Medications are usually needed to treat gout. Speak with your doctor about available choices. Lifestyle changes, weight loss, exercise, eating a low fat, low cholesterol diet and avoiding fructose can help manage gout.

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(5):502-507.
Mayo Clinic
Gout Slideshow