Gout is a medical condition characterized by recurrent attacks of inflammatory arthritis. In most cases, the red, tender, hot and swollen joint, characteristic for this disease, occurs at the base of the big toe. Gout is commonly referred to as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”. This is because it is primarily caused by specific lifestyle habits, including calorie-rich diet, high intake of alcohol and sweets. Since this disease usually results from lifestyle factors, it is relatively easy to prevent by making some simple changes in the daily routine. This is a disorder of purine metabolism. It occurs when the final metabolite of purine, uric acid, crystallizes in the form of monosodium urate and triggers immune system reaction. This leads to local inflammation and symptoms of gout: swelling, pain, tenderness, fever, etc.
Causes of gout
Lifestyle factors are mostly responsible for gout. People who consume too much alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, meat, and seafood, are at the highest risk of gout. However, sometimes the gout results from genetic factors, if a person has high uric acid levels, owing to some rare genetic disorders. People suffering from metabolic syndrome are also at the higher risk of gout. A body mass index of at least 35 increases one’s risk by three. Moreover, people can develop gout as a side effect of certain medications, especially diuretics, niacin and Aspirin.
Prevention of gout
The best way to prevent gout is to make drastic changes to the lifestyle factors and to consider taking some other type of medications. People can prevent gout by following healthy dietary regiment. This means limiting intake of meat, seafood, alcohol, fructose and processed sugars. On the other hand, people are advised to consume a lot of dairy foods, vitamin C and coffee.
Keeping the weight at the optimum level and preventing obesity is also very much important. Low calorie diet is known to decrease uric acid levels and thus prevent inflammation in the joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. Vitamin C intake of 1,500 mg can decrease the risk by 45%, compared to standard daily intake.
Kidneys are also very important in development of gout. Sometimes, the uric acid is formed because of the kidney failure. This means that excessive production of alcohol and high intake of proteins, carbohydrates, and foods like mushrooms or organ meats, may lead to development of excessive uric acid. People should limit their intake of these foods and consume a lot of fluids to neutralize the acid.