Health Updates

How to Live With Gout

Do you suffer from chronic gout? When there is a high level of uric acid in your body, this chemical builds up around the joint, causing pain or discomfort. Alcohol, stress and certain medications can trigger an increase in uric acid levels, which can result in a gout flare-up.

A typical gout flare-up starts with a burning sensation or tingling feeling in the affected joints; this indicates that a gout attack is about to begin in about an hour or two. These symptoms may be accompanied by joint stiffness or soreness. There may also be redness or swelling of the affected joints.

In some instances, a gout attack may immediately commence with a painful joint. Without warning, some patients may wake up in the middle of the night, experiencing massive pain. Gout attacks or flare-ups usually affect the big toe but they may also pervade the ankles, knees, wrists or elbows.

The pain can be so strong that the patient may not be able to touch anything with the affected joint.

When you have gout, there is not much you can do to stop a gout attack once it begins. But here are some self-care tips on what to do when a gout flare-up happens.

If your doctor has prescribed medication, take it as directed as soon as you realize you’re about to have a gout flare-up. If you’re having flare-ups despite taking your preventive medication, you might ask your doctor to increase the dosage or change medicines.

To lessen the pain or inflammation of the affected joints, apply cold packs or compresses to ease the discomfort. Ice the joints several times a day for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Put less strain on the joint; thus, it’s a good idea to let it rest until the pain diminishes. Whenever possible, raise the affected joint by putting it on a pillow or other soft object.

Uric acid levels tend to increase if you haven’t been drinking enough water during the day. Stabilize it to a normal level by drinking water. Also, avoid food high in purines like fatty foods and seafood. Beer and fructose-sweetened beverages should also be avoided because these will spike up your uric acid levels.

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