Dec 01, 2010 Posted Under: Health

Dealing With Gout

While gout is considered a form of arthritis, it is actually more along the lines of a kidney difficulty. That’s because gout is caused by uric acid crystals dropped off into your joints, usually starting with your right big toe.

The function of your kidneys is to remove impurities such as uric acid from your blood stream and expel it in urine. If there is an overabundance of this waste product, or if your kidneys don’t function properly, it simply gets recirculated. As it increases, it forms the crystals. When they become too heavy to be moved easily, they get left behind.

There are two steps to relieving gout and preventing a relapse. One is to get rid of the acid and the other is to reduce inflammation. Both steps can be done, and often with home remedies. To help you find the answers you need, let me pose some of the questions I get asked on the topic:

1) What causes uric acid to be formed? It’s a waste product of a component of protein, called purine. Purine can be found in all protein sources, including vegetables like beans.

2) How can I prevent buildup? Watch the purine content of what you eat. While most people say that you should avoid all red meat, I suggest you eliminate foods by the level of purine in them, no matter what the product. There are some cuts of both beef and pork that have less than boneless/skinless chicken breast.

3) I’m having a flare up right now, what should I do? Cut back on protein, drink cherry juice and eat a lot of red fruits and vegetables. While tart cherries and the juice are the best, strawberries and even apples can help. Watch the sugar content, as adding high fructose corn syrup can make other conditions, such as diabetes, worse.

4) Besides protein, what else do I need to watch? Some medications and herbs could cause flare ups. A good example is aspirin. While low dose aspirin therapy may not be as harmful, doses higher than 80 mgs are a prime suspect in exacerbating the problem. For the same reason, don’t use products containing willow bark, as it is the exact same chemical. Don’t stop taking any medication without the approval of your physician, particularly if you have a serious health concern such as heart disease.

It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your doctor after you’ve been diagnosed with gout. The high volume of uric acid can cause damage to your kidneys. If left unattended, it could lead to renal failure and death.

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