Surprise! Sure, some surprises are pleasant, but if you have gout, that word might fill you with trepidation. Gout flare-ups are one of the most unpleasant surprises imaginable—they strike suddenly, often in the middle of the night, and can bring intense pain, swelling, and sensitivity for several hours or even days. This is something you definitely want to avoid—but how? What causes a flare-up, and what can you do about it?
These attacks are tied to the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream. When acid levels are high, solid salts called urate crystals can form, and those crystals build up in your joints, particularly your big toe joint. It’s these accumulations that cause your swelling, tenderness, and painful, sudden flare-ups.
Why would you have high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream? The answer, in most cases, is your diet. Purines, a group of chemical compounds commonly found in several foods, produce uric acid when they are digested. Eat foods that are high in purines, and you increase the level of uric acid in your bloodstream—and increase your risk of a painful attack.
If you’ve had a gout attack, or are susceptible to them, you should avoid or limit your intake of purine-rich foods. These include things like organ meats, most seafood, wild game (especially goose), turkey, and beer.
Other complicating factors that can lead to a flare-up include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, and other medical conditions that can increase your production of uric acid or hinder your ability to filter it out of your bloodstream efficiently.If you’ve suffered even one attack that resembles what we’ve described, don’t wait—call Family Foot and Ankle Center. Urate crystal build-up can cause significant long-term injury to your joints, and attacks are no fun. You’ll want to get a handle on your condition as quickly as possible to prevent future pain and complications. Request an appointment online, or call us today at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 and see us at one of our six convenient Ohio or Northern Kentucky locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.