Gout, sometimes referred to among non-professionals as the “rich man’s disease” is a treatable physical issue usually accompanied by sudden pain in the joints, in addition to sensitivity to touch and bright red areas on the skin.
This condition is sometimes noticed at first in the joint at the base of the big toe. Medical research shows that gout is a form of arthritis, though it is more complex. While men are more likely to experience gout, women can be afflicted, especially after menopause.
Many individuals report they wake up at night with a sudden feeling of the big toe “on fire.” When gout appears, you will generally notice the joint is warm to the touch and swollen.
Even the lightest touch can be hard to tolerate. As mentioned, gout is treatable. In addition, you can take steps to reduce the risk of gout, preventing it in the first place or keeping it from returning after it clears up.
Pain in the Joints
This condition afflicts hundreds of people, first occurring in the big toe. However, you may also feel severe pain in the rest of the foot, the ankles, knees, even your wrists or hands. Many individuals report the pain is at its worst in the first few hours after it starts.
While this strong pain lessens in intensity, you’ll probably feel discomfort in the joints for several days (even a few weeks). You may also notice it’s difficult to move the affected joint as time goes on.
If you feel this pain, or notice the redness and tenderness, you should take steps immediately to reduce the pain, of course, but also to make changes that will reverse the condition. With gout, as with any medical affliction, it’s important to understand the actual causes so that you can take effective action to prevent its return. Learn more at The Gout Code.
In simple terms, the inflammation and pain are caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joint. These crystals are the result of having increased levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Going a bit deeper into the explanation, this raised level of uric acid is based on the presence of substances called purines, which occur in red meat such as steak, as well as in seafood. Beer and drinks made sweet with fruit sugar have been found to increase levels of uric acid.
Change Your Diet
As mentioned earlier, through the years this condition received the name “rich man’s disease” because people who can afford steak, shrimp, alcoholic beverages etc. are more likely to have these items daily.
They may also be more likely to experience gout. These foods and drinks, in moderation, may not lead to illness because uric acid dissolves in the blood stream and passes out of the body in urine – normally.
If too much acid is produced or the kidneys don’t eliminate this substance as they should, it’s possible uric acid will build up in the body, form crystals and eventually cause pain and inflammation.
So, if you’re looking for natural cures for gout, your first step is to change your diet. You’ve already learned a bit about red meat, seafood and alcohol, especially beer. Cutting down on these items should make a difference.
People who are obese are more likely to develop gout because the body not only produces more uric acid in this situations, but also works harder to eliminate wastes, including uric acid. In addition to changing your diet, you should also begin to take steps to reduce your body weight.
Getting more exercise would be the best way to begin, since even moderate exercise will help your body shed pounds and get rid of those waste products.
Medical Conditions, Genetics
Genetics and medical conditions are two other factors to consider in your attempts to prevent or eliminate gout. If you suffer from diabetes, certain heart and kidney diseases, or have high blood pressure, you may be more likely to develop gout.
You should also give some thought to your ancestors, because you’re more likely to suffer this affliction if members of your family had gout. You should also take precautions, exercise more and eat healthier foods as you age, especially when you pass the age of 30.
It’s always wise to consider gout as a possibility if you’ve had an experience with it in the past. Some individuals never go through the pain again, while others are victims of recurrent gout.
If you do have a second attack, and it’s more painful and debilitating than the first, you should probably see a medical professional, because you are suffering from and advanced case. This can cause serious problems with your joint mobility that can be life-changing.
If uric acid forms crystals and those crystals accumulate in the kidneys, you may suffer from kidney stones. This is another condition that you may want to talk to your doctor about. To learn more about what you can do to reduce pain and eliminate gout visit The Gout Code.
When you have made changes to your diet and increased the amount of moderate exercise in your daily routine, you can then try some off-the-shelf medications to reduce pain.
These non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include ibuprofen, naproxen, and one or two slightly more-powerful NSAIDS. However, these should be used in moderation and should not be your sole effort to take care of a gout problem.
Overuse of NSAIDS can lead to stomach pain, ulcers and internal bleeding. Your doctor may prescribe something a bit more powerful, such as prednisone, a corticosteroid that can control pain and tissue inflammation.
The medical professional may also use colchicine, a pain reliever that can be effective but may cause diarrhea and vomiting. Again, you should be extremely cautious when using medications, prescription and non-prescription.
As always, you should be an educated consumer. There are medications that block the production of uric acid, but they should be used sparingly, if at all. These drugs do have irritating side effects.
There is also a medication that focuses specifically on removing uric acid from the body. Learn more about probenecid so you’ll understand what it is and what it can do if your doctor prescribes it.
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When you’ve made the changes described above, and perhaps tried a few suggestions from a medical professional, you may want to move to the alternative options.
There may be some risks to avoiding your doctor’s suggestions and recommendations, but that’s a decision you can make with him or her. You may be able to find some relief from drinking coffee, according to some studies.
This beverage may lower the level of uric acid in your system. Specific reasons for this benefit have not been determined. This doesn’t mean you should begin drinking coffee, however.
There are some risks and effects associated with caffeine, for example. You may also want to look into increasing the amount of vitamin C in your diet. You can do this with supplements and with citrus fruits, other fruits and vegetables.
While there are no definitive studies showing the benefits of vitamin C as one of the natural cures for gout, some researchers believe it may lower the uric-acid levels as well.
Cherries have been studied as a way to lower acid levels, and may reduce the frequency of gout attacks. You can eat more cherries or add cherry extracts as a supplement.
Medical research and studies in alternative health treatments show that most people don’t drink enough clean water on a daily basis. This may actually be one of the best ways to prevent additional gout attacks in the future. You should always be well hydrated and limit the liquids that have sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup.
As you increase your fluid intake with water and unsweetened juices, you should also reduce the amount of alcohol you put into your system. It’s especially important to reduce or eliminate the amount of beer you consume, since men tend to increase the risk of gout when they drink this beverage.
You should also do all you can to reduce your weight. People who are obese are prone to gout attacks.
You can do this by eating a bit less at each meal and by starting a regular schedule of moderate exercise. Both of these can help reduce uric-acid levels in the bloodstream.
However, it’s never healthy to fast or start a diet that has rapid weight-loss as the goal. It’s better to lose weight gradually, because rapid changes in your body may actually increase uric acid temporarily.
Protein and Gout
Studies have also shown that to avoid gout and other medical issues you should try to get your protein from dairy products that are low in fat. This may have a protective effect when it comes to reducing or eliminating incidents of gout.
In a related area, you should limit the amount of meat, fish and poultry in your diet. You don’t have to eliminate these foods altogether, but you should eat them in small amounts, paying attention to any that cause problems after consumption.
Watch for joint pain, swelling or obvious redness after you eat certain foods. If you must sacrifice by eating less of your favorites, it will be worth it, because gout pain can immobilize you for several days.
It’s important to do what you can to eliminate gout, even if the attacks are relatively mild. If you just “learn to live with it” you may be setting yourself up for future problems that may be even more severe.
Think of your natural remedies as a way to avoid the cost of medications, of course, but also think of them as a healthier way to deal with this condition. Gout drugs may have side effects that you don’t want to experience, so take some time to learn more about natural remedies.
Thousands of individuals have grown up learning to rely only on a medical professional, which is fine for certain conditions and serious situations. But you can make informed decisions about health if you devote some time to learning.
Make it a Passion
Even if you haven’t suffered from gout, or another painful condition, you would be wise to start looking at natural remedies and the alternative-medicine concept more seriously.
Fortunately, there are individuals for whom this is a passion. They’ve taken it to the next level and developed natural cures for gout that work. They’ve also found some that don’t do what others have claimed.
In fact, you’ll probably found about half a dozen natural products that can really affect gout symptoms and get to the root causes. Most of them focus on dealing with uric acid, as they should. Some treatments are better at reducing uric acid or help the body eliminate it.
Others work to reduce the growth of uric-acid crystals, which are the main cause of pain and swelling in the joints. When you decide to use a home remedy you should always remember to seek medical attention if the condition becomes too severe.
As a way to start dealing with pain, you can mix a cup of charcoal powder in water and soak the painful joint for about 30 minutes. This has been found to ease the pain of gout.
Others have used the traditional, and easy, application of ice to the affected area, always keeping a cloth or towel between the ice and the skin. Gout tends to make the area very tender to the touch.
You’ve already read about vitamin C as it relates to gout. But this information is worth repeating, since uric acid can build up when you have a very limited intake of vitamin C.
Consider lemons as one of the most useful fruits in dealing with gout, as citrus fruits have helped people dissolve the uric-acid crystals in their body over time. You can also try strawberries, green, leafy vegetables and tomatoes.
Individuals have also found that magnesium is great for heart health, as it aids blood circulation and may help lower blood pressure. You can also soak the painful joints in Epsom salt solution, or add about two cups of this salt in warm bath water, as one of the natural cures for gout.
Not only can this help relieve joint pain and stiffness due to gout, but it is an excellent way to relax joints and muscles that ache for more general reasons. It’s an excellent remedy for many ailments.
When you’re looking for ways to reduce the incidence of gout, you can certainly try apple cider vinegar. This has been shown to make the body more alkaline, which can reduce gout symptoms. A couple of tablespoons of vinegar in a cup of water should help, as will two tablespoons mixed with two tablespoons of honey.
Apples themselves may deliver some benefits, since they contain an acid that helps control uric-acid build-up. You’ve already read about cherries, which do the same.
Learn more about dealing with gout at The Gout Code.
As you learn how to deal with gout, you may find some excellent benefits from the natural cures for gout mentioned, everything from coffee, fruits, and apple cider vinegar, to charcoal and ice. But your long-term goal should always be to live a healthier life and to have a diet that helps you avoid gout attacks in the future.
Start today by controlling your weight. Even if you’re slightly overweight, you may have an increased risk for gout.
Don’t fast or go on a crash diet, though. Change your eating habits gradually, beginning with the addition of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid red meat and shrimp, or limit these items to a rarity on your menu. It’s best not to cut calories drastically since a diet that is very low in calories may actually cause uric-acid levels to increase temporarily.
While it may be alright to have an occasional beer, keep in mind that this alcoholic beverage may be one of the chief causes of gout. The alcohol can keep the kidneys from eliminating uric acid as they should. The acid can then build up in your body and crystallize, which, as was mentioned several times, the primary cause of joint pain and inflammation.
You should also discuss any other major health issues with your doctor, to see how diet changes and exercise can help. You can certainly try some over-the-counter pain relievers, in moderation.
But these should not be depended on long term, as they can have negative effects on your health. Some prescription medicines can actually make things worse if you start taking them instantly, when you haven’t used them before.
Gout was called the “rich man’s disease” for years because people believed it was caused by eating certain expensive foods and drinking too much alcohol. These habits may contribute to gout, but there are other issues you should be aware of. You can do quite a bit to help yourself by using some natural cures for gout.
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