What is Gout

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints that can lead to sudden, intense pain-often called a gout flare- and swollen joints that may become red and/or hot. While statistics show that more than 50 percent of gout flares start in the big toe, the uric acid crystals associated with gout are also commonly found in knees, hands, and feet, and can deposit in organs throughout the body, such as the kidney, causing kidney stones.

Causes
It's normal for everyone to have at least some uric acid in their bodies. However, too much uric acid can build up and increase the risks of developing gout. Uric acid typically dissolves in the blood and then passes through the kidneys, where it is eventually removed through urine. Approximately two thirds of uric acid is produced by the body naturally; the rest comes from diet, often in the form of purines, which are substances in animal and plant foods that the body converts to uric acid. A family history of gout, as well as other health issues such as High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, or Kidney disease, can increase risk for developing gout. Certain medications can also trigger gout. ( ex: Diuretics)

Symptoms
Gout is often associated with the sudden onset of severe pain and swelling, in which the affected joints are very tender, even to the lightest touch. Putting any weight on the affected joint can be very difficult, and the pain may last for a few days. In some instances, uric acid crystals may continue to build up and form tophi, or lumps under the skin. While generally not painful these lumps can interfere with normal joint function and may lead to bone erosion or damage to the cartilage.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Gout can be diagnosed through examination, a blood test, or by analyzing joint fluid. While gout is treatable, it is not curable. The approach to treatment is individualized and may include decreasing the amount of uric acid in the blood as well as controlling the joint pain. Lowering uric acid levels in the blood can prevent or lessen painful attacks and reduce the risk of gout complications such as kidney stones and the development of tophi. Anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids may be prescribed to help with joint pain. 

For some, signs and symptoms may continue to occur despite taking oral uric-lowering medicines. In these scenarios, an intravenous medication may be recommended by doctors to decrease the buildup of uric acid in the body.


BELOW IS SOME RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DIET. REMEMBER MODERATION IS THE KEY !!!

LOW PURINE DIET
Studies have shown that eating a low purine diet can significantly reduce your risk of suffering from an extremely painful condition called gout. Gout is a very painful disease that is most common in men, especially older men, and is caused by a condition called Hyperuricemia, which means that there is an excess of uric acid in the blood. When this happens, the body will form crystals that accumulate in the joints and cause painful gout symptoms. Uric acid is a waste product left over from metabolism of chemical compounds called purines that can be found in some of the foods commonly consumed by many people today. Low purine diets are extremely helpful in lowering levels of uric acid in the body and will usually involve reducing or cutting out foods that have high levels of purines Here is a partial list of foods high in purines, which have the highest concentration of purines and should be avoided by those who are prone to gout or are already suffering from it.

BEEF, PORK , LAMB , SEAFOOD, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 

FOODS THAT ARE MADE WITH SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF YEAST SUCH AS BEER AND BREAD While these foods' high purine levels can also aggravate symptoms of gout, they can sometimes be enjoyed in moderation by those who usually follow a low purine diet.

ASPARAGUS , CAULIFLOWER, MUSHROOMS, PEAS, SPINACH, WHOLE GRAIN BREADS AND CEREALS, WHITE POULTRY MEATS, SUCH AS CHICKEN , DUCK, TURKEY, KIDNEY AND LIMA BEANS

Please note: If you suffer from gout or have a family predisposition to the disease, it is good to steer clear of low carbohydrate diets such as Atkins and Protein Power diets. Their recommendation to eat large amounts of food high purines such as meats, dark vegetables, is almost certain to cause problems in those predisposed to Gout