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13 July 2012
A growing body of evidence is helping to develop a better understanding of the lifestyle factors that can impact upon gout. Online weight loss coach Andrew Cate looks at the latest research.
What we know about gout
Gout is a disease where serum urate (or uric acid) builds up in the blood and forms crystal deposits that settle in the joints such as the big toe or ankle. It causes pain, inflammation and swelling. It is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40, and it is the only curable form of arthritis. It’s also believed that one barrier to the adequate treatment of gout is that it is seen as a humorous, acute disease (rapid onset and short but severe), making it hard to educate patients about the treatments available. Fortunately, studies on the lifestyle components of gout have led to a better understanding of how to lower urate levels naturally, and this adds to the treatment options available to sufferers.
A 2012 review titled “Up-to-date Management of Gout”, published in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology, states that modifications of lifestyle and diet are key components in non-pharmacological gout management. These include dairy products and vitamin C, and the reduction of beer.
Lifestyle implications from this review
There are lifestyle choices men can make to reduce serum urate levels and improve the management of gout. These lifestyle changes may have the additional benefits of improving overall health, especially metabolic syndrome (a cluster of health problems including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood fats and high blood sugars). Adopting these healthy lifestyle changes also gives men a degree of autonomy and control over gout. The specific lifestyle choices that can have either a protective or causative affect on gout, as determined by populations studies (epidemiological studies), are outlined below.
Lifestyle factors affecting gout
References available upon request
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