How To Prevent and Minimize Gout Attacks

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How much do you know about gout? Many people think of gout as an old-fashioned disease or a trivial problem. In truth, it’s relatively common in modern America. Over 8 million people, or around 4% of the population, have gout. Most of them are men.  It’s also an uncomfortable condition that should be taken seriously.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. This acid forms crystals that can settle in the joints, often in the big toe. This is a “gout attack.” If you’ve recently been diagnosed with gout or if gout runs in your family, these painful gout attacks are a real risk, but there are steps you can take to minimize your vulnerability and to make gout attacks shorter and less painful. 

The best way to reduce the risk of a gout attack is through careful diet management. Maintain a healthy weight. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup, which is commonly found in sweetened sodas and other drinks. Food and drinks that are high in chemicals called purines can trigger attacks. These purines break down into uric acid during the digestion process. You should limit your consumption of:

  • red meat
  • alcohol, particularly beer
  • shellfish and other high-fat seafood
  • high-purine vegetables including beans, peas, lentils, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms

Be alert to the signs of a gout attack including pain, swelling, redness, and heat at the big toe joint.  If a gout attack occurs, act quickly. Try some or all of the following steps:

  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or any medication that has been prescribed by your podiatrist.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Hydration will help flush the excess uric acid from your system.
  • Apply ice to the affected joint. 
  • Elevate your foot.
  • Stay off your feet if possible or use a cane to walk.
  • Call your podiatrist. 

If you’re dealing with a painful gout attack or if you have any other concerns about the health and well-being of your feet, ankles, or lower legs, a visit to the podiatrist for examination, diagnosis, and treatment is in order. Click here or call Abramov’s Comprehensive Foot Care at 443-872-7052 to schedule a convenient appointment with Boris Abramov, DPM and Tatyana Abramova, DPM in our modern, comfortable Pikesville office.