Gout is a type of arthritis caused by excess serum accumulation of uric acid - a by-product of protein metabolism. Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines or waste products in the body.
If the body increases its production of uric acid (through diet or lifestyle) or if the kidneys do not eliminate enough uric acid from the body (i.e., due to kidney disease or insufficient fluid intake), uric acid levels build up. If excess uric acid crystals form, gout can develop. The excess crystals build up in the joint spaces, causing inflammation. Deposits of uric acid can appear as lumps under the skin around the joints and at the rim of the ear.
Excess uric acid in blood may result in one form of kidney stones when the urate crystallizes in the kidney. Some patients with gout eventually get uric kidney stones.
In most cases gout is the result of overindulgence and poor lifestyle choices. This is, for the most part, a preventable lifestyle disease.
You can find out if you have gout by getting a blood test for uric acid. To determine whether you have a more serious problem, you should discuss with your doctor a two-hour insulin and glucose test, which measures insulin levels after fasting and one and two hours after consuming a sugary drink.
Hereditary: Some people have genetic problems with uric acid metabolism. 25 percent of people with gout have a family history of gout.
Diet may also be a factor:
Eating large amounts of sea salt can cause increased levels of uric acid
High fructose intake - regardless of fructose's low glycemic index (GI) value. Fructose can be found in processed foods and soda beverages as sucrose, or in some countries, as high fructose corn syrup.
Excess animal protein in the diet.
High intake of dietary purine.
Purines are found in animal internal organ food products, such as beef liver, kidneys, brains and meat extracts (e.g. Oxo, Bovril), as well as sweetbreads, anchovies and sardines. Moderate amounts of purine are also contained in beef, pork, poultry, fish and seafood, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, lentils, dried peas, beans, oatmeal, wheat bran and wheat germ and hawthorne.
NOTE: Moderate intake of purine-containing food is not associated with an increased risk of gout.
Impaired or excretion by the kidneys as a result of kidney disease, dehydration, chronic diarrhea or lack of fluid intake. Fluids are needed to flush out excess uric acids by the kidneys.
Renal (kidney) fat infiltration and insulin resistance may impair ammonia excretion. The urine is therefore quite acidic and uric acid becomes insoluble, crystallizes and stones form
Uric acid causes gout. at high concentrations in the blood, forming crystals that end up in the joints, often the big toe or at the finger joints, causing razor-like pain and redness.
Managing the Pain:
Massages: Endorphins are released during a massage, and these endorphins prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals.
Not everybody likes the idea of acupuncture (which is also very helpful in controlling pain) or has the funds for regular professional massages. However, there are a wide range of home-use massage tools and devices that give you access to a healing massage whenever you need relief in the comfort of your home.
Please click here for information on the benefits of massage.
Untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood fat levels (hyperlipidemia) and narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)
Prolonged bed rest after surgery or a sudden or severe illness or an injury can increase uric acid levels
Use of thiazide diuretics (used to treat high blood pressure), low-dose aspirin and cyclosporine (used to prevent organ rejection) and chemotherapy
Maintain an ideal body weight
Exercise regularly to keep in good physical condition
Avoid alcohol (especially beer)
Stay rehydrated -- fluids help dilute uric acid in the blood and urine.
Foods to avoid:
Eliminate refined flour / bakery goods and sugar from your diet
Avoid, or at least limit, the consumption of alcohol
Higher levels of meat and seafood consumption are associated with an increased risk of gout, whereas a higher level of consumption of dairy products is associated with a decreased risk.
Foods to eat:
Eat lots of fiber
Fresh or frozen fruits, such as bananas, pineapple, tangerines, mandarins, oranges, cherries, strawberries, and other red-blue berries.
Blueberries have an oxygen radical absorption capacity value of 2,400 per 100 grams of antioxidant power and they are rich in anthocyanins, ellagic acid and phenolic acids. They help fight bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, and blueberry extract may combat pain. Fresh and frozen (without added sugar) are comparable from a nutritional standpoint, but dried blueberries contain lower amounts of antioxidant anthocyanins
Fresh or frozen vegetables, such as celery, tomatoes, kale, red cabbage, red bell peppers, potatoes, parsley, green-leafy vegetables
Complex carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, rice). Note: avoid wheat products of any kind -- such as breads and pasta made from wheat - if you are sensitive / allergic to this grain. Food allergies, such as wheat allergies actually contribute to / may cause joint inflammations.
Low-fat dairy products
Eat foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as tuna and salmon, flaxseed, nuts, seeds
Avoid red meat. Alternatives are chicken, duck, ham, turkey or tofu.
Please also refer to Dr. Stengler's recommendations below ...
Drink 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fruit juices / purified water / tea a day
Mark Stengler, ND, who practices naturopathic medicine at the La Jolla Whole Health Clinic, La Jolla, California. He is an associate clinical professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and served on a medical advisory committee for the Yale University Complementary Medicine Outcomes Research Project. Author of the natural healing books to the right (click on book images for more information) - provides the below information:
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes intense aching, usually in the feet and especially the big toe. It develops when uric acid (a normal waste product of protein metabolism) crystallizes and builds up in the joints.
Many people with gout have insulin resistance, a prediabetic condition in which the body's cells don't properly use the glucose-transporting hormone insulin. This raises levels of insulin and glucose, impairing the kidneys' ability to remove uric acid from the body.
Alcohol, organ meats and shellfish (especially shrimp) may increase uric acid levels, provoking a gout attack within 24 hours. A gradual buildup of uric acid can occur from long-term use of aspirin or various diuretics.
To minimize uric acid formation and crystallization, patients should:
eat lots of fiber
limit less healthful carbohydrates, such as cookies and soda
drink 64 ounces of water daily
eat one to two dozen fresh, frozen or dried Bing cherries daily, or take 1,000 mg three times daily of cherry extract
and take celery seed extract at a dose of 500 mg three times daily.
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