Managing your Gout problem
Gout is a condition in which uric acid level in serum of the blood is raised and this results finally in urates or uric acid crystals forming and getting deposited in the cartilages of the joints. Swelling and attacks of pain results and joints subject to trauma like the shoulder, elbows, wrists, knees, ankles and toe joints are commonly affected.
Gout is usually an inherited disease but also seen in those who consume large amounts of protein rich foods like fish, seafood, mutton, chicken, beef, glandular meat like liver, kidney or vegetarians who eat a lot of beans, spinach and pulses. Those who are regular heavy drinkers of alcohol may also suffer with gout. Men are more prone to it than women. Women usually get it after menopause. The normal uric acid levels are below 6mg/dl for men and below 5mg/dl for women.
Athletes and sportsmen like tennis, badminton, cricket, etc. players are also seen to be quite susceptible to gout. This could be due to increased perspiration during training and insufficient water consumption. Also players seem to be in and out of special training camps where lots of non-veg food is available. They eat large amounts of it thinking it will build their body. You need the protein but try to consume milk, egg white and dhals, along with the non-veg so that you eat lesser quantities of it.
Obese persons may be more prone to gout. Therefore if you are over weight the first step would be to reduce weight. This will not only prevent recurrence of attacks of pain and gout, but also give relief to the weight bearing joints of the body. A word of caution, those suffering from gout should not go on a drastic weight reduction programme, which involves starvation, skipping of meals or diets like only fruit juices or only vegetables throughout the day and cabbage soup diet, etc. which do not contain any form of protein. This causes breakdown of protein within the body, leading to the formation of large amounts of uric acid, which will get deposited in the joints and result in acute pain suddenly. Over indulgence or feasting in rich fatty foods, meats and alcohol will also bring on an attack of pain over night. Therefore it is very important to follow a balanced regular diet and all party eating and drinking must be in moderation. Avoid feasting and fasting.
Besides pain in joints, uric acid crystals can cause stone formation in the urinary tracts and kidneys. Therefore it should not be taken lightly. This shooting pain of gout may be seen more frequently in summer, as the normal water intake may be insufficient.
When protein rich foods specially non- veg like fish, seafood, mutton, chicken, beef, glandular meat like liver, kidney, etc., are digested in the body, uric acid is formed as a break down product. This must be flushed out of the body with plenty of water. If not urate crystals will form and lodge themselves in the cartilages of the joints like wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, toes, etc. This will result in shooting pain or a pricking pain.
Custard apple, chickoo, beans, peas, pulses-channa, rajma, moong sprouts and spinach too must be avoided when there is pain. These foods contain high amount of purine, which gets converted to uric acid in the body. After the uric acid levels come down these may be eaten occasionally. We have also observed sudden gout attacks of pain after the consumption of too much alcohol, so please avoid.
The most effective and immediate mode of treatment for a gout attack of pain or if you have suddenly seen a high blood level of uric acid is to pump water into your body. 2 and a half liters of water is the minimum health requirement for an adult. So a gout patient should be drinking at least 3 liters daily and if you are a sportsman then 4 liters is a must. Sports people working heavily with weights, please note that there will be more muscle breakdown when you train so if you have a tendency for gout be very particular about keeping your water intake very high.