What is Gout? How to Manage and Prevent Gout Attack?
*Disclaimer: I don’t claim that since what I will discuss here is effective to me, it will also have the same effect with you. I am not representing myself as someone who is medically inclined professional. However, I think this is worth sharing. If you will take what I say, please don’t stop your prescription until your doctor says so.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable.”
If you are suffering from gout attack, you will truly understand the definition above. Intense right? Not to mention, crippling. Why is that so? Especially when it is on the big toe which is always the case for me, the pain is unbearable when you try to walk.
The following are the usual signs and symptoms of gout attack:
Intense Joint Pain. Gout usually occurs on the joint of the big toe, but it doesn’t mean it can’t occur anywhere else. As long as there’s joint, you can never tell where it will appear.
Swelling and Redness. Along with the joint pain, there will be swelling and redness on the joint where you are feeling the pain.
Gout is usually caused by high level of uric acid in the blood. This can then build up in the joints and its surrounding tissues as sharp needle like urate crystals. These crystals will cause the pain, swelling and redness.
High level uric acid is associated with too many purines. Our body digest purines, and produces a waste product called uric acid. Purines forms the bases of our DNA and RNA. I’ll just leave that to you to research if you are interested.
Sources of Purines
Our body produces purines naturally. However, purines are also present in various foods that we take in. The usual foods that contain this chemical compound are organ meats, sea foods, and pears. Alcoholic beverages such as beer or anything created with malts as well as other drinks with fruit sugar or fructose.
Bad news for men, because men develops the condition as early as age 30. Women on the other hand will most likely start to show signs and symptoms of gout after menopause.
More often than not, your doctor will prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. However, prolonged usage of NSAIDs can cause undesirable effects on the stomach. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Diclofenac can trigger acid reflux or GERD. Some can also cause bleeding and ulcer.
Other treatment drugs also carry with them serious undesirable side effects. That is why you should never self medicate your gout. Your doctor is still the best person to advise you
Gout, like any other disease is preventable. Instead of taking synthetic medications, you can try to explore more natural means. If you still don’t have it, it is important to watch your diet and take everything in moderation, especially those that are known to cause uric acid build up in the body. If you already have gout, doing some lifestyle changes would help.
1. Drink plenty of water. Avoid or limit sweetened beverages especially those that have high fructose sugar. LEARN TO READ PRODUCT LABELS.
2. Limit your intake on foods high in purines.
3. Exercise regularly. Lose weight if you must. Keep your body in check on the scale. You can ask your doctor what is the normal level with your age and height. At this time and age, google is also your friend.
My Personal Case
Ever since I reached 30, I have been consistently experiencing gout attacks. It may not be as often as others, but it is still very uncomfortable. I love outdoors, and I enjoy trekking and hiking on hills or mountains and chasing waterfalls. Having a gout attack can be particularly awful. It hinders you to do things you enjoy.
Diclofenac is the NSAID that I usually take. The regular mefenamic acid or anti-inflammatory drugs won’t work. I take Naproxene Sodium every time I feel a little pain on my big toe’s joint. However, the usual time gout shows up is at night, so seldom you can catch it before it gets worst. You will wake up with pain, swelling and redness.
As I’ve said above, NSAIDs should not be taken regularly. It can treat you from gout, but it will cause trouble in your other body organs. Your doctor should have warned you about possible side effects of the NSAIDs prescribed for you. Follow strictly any instruction given to you.
One day, I woke up with very painful episode of gout. I can barely walk, but I need to go to work. Putting on my leader shoes just made the matter worst. I still feel like the man of steel, so, I still went on. There is no Uber/Lyft like service here in Bermuda. Taxis are usually in the main road, and I live on top of the hill. My daily work transportation choice is the ferry. At normal speed, I usually reach the dock or terminal in 5 minutes. With gout and on a leather shoes? It probably took me between 10-15 minutes.
I walk slowly and tried to convince my mind to ignore the solid pain I am feeling. My big toe is already burning hot. Before I get to reach the dock, one senior citizen local walking behind me tried to talk to me.
Local 1: What happened?
Me: Oh gout. (Yep, as short as that. It’s really painful.)
Local 1: Did you drink your milk?
Me: No. (I thought, hey mom, is that you?)
Local 1: You have to drink your glass of milk. It will do wonders on gout.
Me: (Now you’re talking.) Really?
Then another senior citizen joined in the conversation.
Local 2: Oh yes. It is pretty amazing what milks can do. It is like magic. It may sound as a joke, but it is very effective.
Me: Thank you. I will try that.
Two senior citizens told me about the wonders of milk on gout, so who am I then not to believe? So, I tried to google effects of milk on gout. According to healthline.com, “If you have gout, you can still enjoy a nice, cold glass of milk. In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, studies show that drinking low-fat milk won’t only reduce your uric acid levels and risk of a gout flare, but will also promote excretion of uric acid in your urine.”
So before I went home that day, I bought my Lactose Free Low Fat Fresh Milk. I consumed two glasses for the rest of the day until I went to bed. The following morning when I woke up, my big toe is still red and swelling. But the pain is more manageable now. Milk did something in my gout that any NSAID can do after a few dosages.
From then on, I make sure to drink a glass of lactose free low fat fresh milk every morning. I do have lactose intolerance, if you don’t, then a low fat regular milk will do for you. Every time I feel like getting a gout flare, I just drink more milk. No more anti-inflammatory drugs. No more nasty side effects. Thanks to MILK and thanks to the two locals who recommended it to me.
You can try it as well and see it for yourself. This is how I manage and prevent gout attack. I hope this will help you or your family members and friends suffering from gout.
If you would want to take your fight against gout to a higher level, you may want to consider getting a specialized cookbook for gout sufferers. One of the many e-books in the market today is Gout and You: The Ultimate Gout Diet and Cookbook. In case you didn’t like the result in following the guide, you can request for a refund within 60 days. If you are interested, just follow the link below.
(Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. Just in case you will buy from it, I will get affiliate commission without extra cost to you.)