Lifestyle and Family History Play Big Role

My father suffered from occasional attacks of gout. I know he was in pain, and suffered through the intense joint pain on his big toe.

So what, exactly, is gout? Probably the best medical definition is that of acute inflammatory arthritis, characterized by tenderness and swelling in a joint – most often at the base of the big toe. The area becomes extremely sensitive and painful. Certainly walking can be very difficult. An attack can be sudden and severe. If accompanied by fever, one should seek medical attention (there may be an infection).

Gout can affect anyone, including our elderly parents, although history shows us that men are the most likely victims. Age is not really a factor, although society presumes middle to elderly in age. And family history is a major factor – so I am genetically prone to gout. From a medical perspective, certain diseases increase the likelihood of gout. These include chronic conditions such as diabetes, untreated high blood pressure, and a narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis).怀

The simple cause is uric acid build-up in the blood stream. This causes urate crystals to accumulate in joints. I learned long ago to avoid foods with high uric acid levels, such as asparagus and anchovies. Since I do not eat red meat, it is easy for me to also avoid organ meats such as liver, or tongue. Excessive alcohol intake ā€” generally more than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women ā€” also increases the risk of gout.

Recommendations of how to avoid the pain associated with gout? Lifestyle can help control uric acid build-up. Remember these tips:

  • Drink 8 to 16 cups (about 2 to 4 liters) of fluid each day, with at least half being water.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, either by days of the week or volume consumed.
  • Eat a moderate amount of protein, preferably from healthy sources, such as low-fat or fat-free dairy, tofu, or eggs.
  • Limit your daily intake of meat, fish and poultry. Don’t over do it.

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– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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