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Family Foot & Ankle

How to Avoid a Gout Flare-Up

For many Americans, December is filled with good cheer, festive activities, time with family, and—last but not least—great food! Unfortunately, ‘tis the season for gout flare-ups as well, and food is often a major culprit.

Painful Gout Flare UpGout flares can be exceedingly painful. They are the result of uric acid building up in the bloodstream, which then deposit as crystals onto cartilage and bone - often in the feet, especially the big toe. Uric acid is a natural byproduct when your body digests purines, and purines are found in a host of common foods and drinks; organ meats, red meats, turkey, bacon, many types of fish and seafood, sweetened beverages, and alcohol (especially beer), among others.

Dietary adjustments can help you manage uric acid levels in the bloodstream and decrease the likelihood of subsequent gout flare-ups. You don’t have to avoid all purines (that would be impossible, anyway), but you do want to limit your consumption.

Drink lots of water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. A glass of wine with dinner is probably fine, but avoid excessive alcohol intake. If you do eat meat, gravitate toward smaller portions that have more moderate purine levels, such as chicken, pork, and ham.

It’s also possible that medications you may be taking could be increasing uric acid in the bloodstream and triggering flare-ups. This is known to happen with certain blood pressure pills, aspirin, niacin supplements, and some chemotherapy treatments. If you’re taking any of these, ask your doctor if there are any modifications that can be made to reduce flare-ups.

These choices, combined with an overall commitment to healthy living and body weight, may be enough to successfully stop flare-ups in the future. However, additional medications may also be prescribed to control gout, especially if you have chronic issues. These may be targeted toward reducing the body’s formation of uric acid, helping the body eliminate it more efficiently, or even convert it to other substances.

When gout is advanced, pain can be almost unceasing, and the damage to joints can be significant. However, proper treatment and prevention strategies can lead to amazing improvements in your health and quality of life. For help managing painful gout flare-ups and preventing future pain, please contact Family Foot & Ankle Center today at (888) 689-3317.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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