Gout: What not to eat

Lesotho Times - - Health -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — In­dul­gence in rich food and plenty of al­co­hol can leave many peo­ple with painful joints.

What is gout? Gout is a type of arthri­tis, which usu­ally af­fects only one or two joints in the body. The most char­ac­ter­is­tic joint in which gout de­vel­ops is the big toe. Usu­ally gouty in­flam­ma­tion of the joints only last for a few days, but it can be so ex­cru­ci­at­ingly painful that suf­fer­ers never for­get an episode. What causes gout? Gout is caused by de­posits of urate crys­tals in the joints. Urate is one of the break­down prod­ucts of com­pounds called purines.

Ide­ally the hu­man body should break urates and uric acid down com­pletely to form a sub­stance called al­lan­toin which can be ex­creted by the kid­neys. Sadly hu­mans and pri­mates have lost the en­zyme which breaks down urates and uric acid to al­lan­toin. Peo­ple who suf­fer from gout tend to ei­ther pro­duce more urate than nor­mal or to ex­crete less in the form of uric acid. Gout is usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by a con­di­tion called hy­pe­r­uri­caemia (raised blood urate lev­els). Purines which are bro­ken down to urate and uric acid orig­i­nate from two sources, di­etary pro­tein and body syn­the­sis.

Who is sus­cep­ti­ble? Men are much more prone to de­velop gout than women, although post-menopausal women also run an in­creased risk. Gout tends to be in­her­ited and 25 per­cent of the rel­a­tives of gout pa­tients de­velop this con­di­tion and/or raised blood urate lev­els. Older peo­ple tend to be more sus­cep­ti­ble to gout than younger men and women.

Cip­i­tat­ing fac­tors Fac­tors that can pre­cip­i­tate a gout at­tack, in­clude:

over­weight — many pa­tients who suf­fer from gout are over­weight or obese

al­co­hol — acute at­tacks of gout are of­ten pre­cip­i­tated by overindul­gence in al­co­hol

di­etary purines — eat­ing foods rich in purines (meat, fish, fish roes) can cause an at­tack

star­va­tion or very-low-en­ergy di­ets — blood urate lev­els rise dra­mat­i­cally when body pro­teins are bro­ken down due to star­va­tion or very low en­ergy in­take

kid­ney dis­ease - any dis­ease, such as chronic re­nal fail­ure, which pre­vents the kid­neys from func­tion­ing

Treat­ment a) Anti-gout drugs Nowa­days there are drugs avail­able which can suc­cess­fully lower blood urate lev­els and in­crease ex­cre­tion by the kid­neys. Th­ese medicines need to be taken for months or years at a time. If your doc­tor has pre­scribed drugs to treat your gout, please use the medicine as in­structed.

b) Di­etary treat­ment Re­duce weight: Pa­tients who are over­weight should try to re­duce their weight grad­u­ally and steadily, us­ing a low-fat diet and ex­er­cise.

— Health24

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