Gout, as a disease, cannot necessarily be prevented. Although it is often linked to lifestyle choices, it may also be the result of heredity, other medical conditions, or perhaps even illness or surgery. So you may have little control over whether or not you suffer from gout. What you do have some measure of control over is the onset of gout symptoms. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood that lead to the formation of uric acid crystals, which are deposited in tissues and joints in the body. This, in turn, leads to arthritic symptoms, such as pain and inflammation in the joints, as well as limited mobility in some cases. These attacks can be treated and even prevented in a variety of ways, regardless of the cause of your gout. Here are a few helpful tips for preventing painful and debilitating attacks.
- Weight loss. Carrying around extra weight can cause all kinds of health problems, and gout could be among them, especially if you are predisposed to the condition due to heredity or other medical conditions. If you fear you are at risk for gout or you already have it, talk to your doctor about whether or not losing weight could help you control and even prevent the onset of attacks. In most cases it will make a marked difference.
- Diet. The foods and beverages you consume could have a major impact on the symptoms associated with gout. For example, diets high in purines (found in red meat, seafood, and beer, among other items) can lead to increased levels of uric acid in the blood, spurring gout attacks. And alcohol consumption in general could be a trigger. You’ll want to learn which foods and beverages are the most likely culprits for uric acid increases so that you can avoid them. But don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as well, since dehydration can also play a role in the onset of gout symptoms.
- Exercise. It can be difficult to exercise when you’re trying to cope with the arthritic symptoms caused by gout. But if you’re looking to prevent attacks from occurring, exercise should definitely be on your to-do list. Regular, moderate exercise is recommended for health in general, but it can also be an important part of a weight loss regimen, as well as a general contributor to staving off the symptoms of gout.
- Harmful medications. Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen) may be used to treat flare-ups, you’ll want to steer clear of medications that can raise uric acid in the blood, such as aspirin, niacin, diuretics, and some prescription medications (ask your doctor if any of your prescriptions fall into this category).
- Medications that reduce uric acid. In some cases, you can cure gout without drugs designed to reduce uric acid in the blood or treat the formation of uric acid crystals. Along with other treatments, this can help many gout sufferers address their condition and prevent future attacks.