Arthritis, joint, bone & muscle

Gout

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A form of arthritis characterised by intense pain in a single joint, often the big toe.

Affected areas

Most commonly affects the big toe, but may also occur in the knee, ankle, elbow and other joints

Symptoms

  • Pain in a joint, that appears very quickly
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness of the affected joint

Causes

Gout is a form of arthritis and is associated with high-blood-levels of uric acid, a compound that's a by-product of your body's normal breakdown of food. Uric acid itself is a product of the metabolism of purines, compounds found in a range of food.

Foods containing purines;

  • Offal (including related products like pate)
  • Game meat
  • Some seafood (especially anchovies and sardines)
  • Some vegetables including asparagus and mushrooms

Normally your body maintains uric acid levels by dissolving it in the bloodstream, filtering it through the kidneys and then urinating. If you start creating too much uric acid or other factors prevent your body dealing with the load, then uric acid crystals form on the joints. This is what causes the sudden pain, redness and swelling of gout.

Diet and lifestyle

It is advisable to see your doctor as soon as possible. This is important as gout can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the joints if left untreated. The dietary and lifestyle suggestions below are recommended as support measures but not as a replacement for medical treatment from a qualified medical practitioner.               

Lowering uric acid levels is a priority and changing your diet to reduce your intake of foods containing purines may help with this.

Important notes

Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition (CPPD) or Pseudogout is a similar condition to gout though its causes are unknown. It has been linked with a variety of causes including low magnesium levels in the blood, an over-active parathyroid gland, and excessive quantities of iron, as well as genetic factors.

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Hello Andy,

Sorry to hear about your current gout attack. The wealth of information at our fingertips can sometimes be a curse and create confusion. I would advise following the guidelines set out above, along with those given by other Blackmores naturopaths in the comments. To recap, these include: ensuring you are drinking plenty of water and eating a whole diet with plenty of leafy green vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Avoiding the following foods may reduce the severity of a gout attack: alcohol, soft drinks, processed meats (such as salami) and organ meats, seafoods such as oysters and sardines. Andy, for more specific individual advice for your case I would suggest consulting a naturopath in private practice as they will look at your diet, lifestyle and medical history and may be able to offer further treatment solutions such as herbal medicines or supplements. Good luck Andy!

Kind regards, Leanne (Blackmores naturopath)
Leanne
Leanne 13 May 2013
Hi I'm 50 and just am currrently suffering froma gout attack. GP has prescribed medication to counteract the attack, which in conjunction with drinking heaps of water including a couple glasses with bicarbonate soda appears to be working. This is only after one day. I've had 2 previous attacks about 6 years ago both of which lasted for 4/5 days. I was prescribed allupurinol which did work but on advice of my GP stopped taking them 3 years ago and had no problems until now. My issue here is that since yesterday I've been researching online looking for advice on food and drink, good and bad. There appears to be conflicting theories such as tomatoes, vegetables containing purine, etc, dairy product,In a nutshell as part of my daily food and drink intake what should i avoid and what should i take more of.
Confused any advice appreciated
Anonymous
Anonymous 09 May 2013
Hi Mark, sorry to hear that your are suffereing from pain. The pain of gout is caused when uric acid builds up in the blood and then crystals become deposited into joints, such as the joint in the big toe. Often the pain from a gout will naturally resolve within a week or two. Some people will have naturally higher levels of uric acid in their blood stream, whereas other people have a higher than normal level due to side effects of certain medications. Rapid weight loss can also exacerbate gout attacks, therefore it is recommended to take the slow and steady approach to losing weight. Drinking plenty of water and cutting down on alcohol will assist with less uric acid build up, so too will reducing your intake of red meat, and processed meats, seafood, and soft drinks. If your symptoms persist, you may need to see your doctor. All the best, Jennifer (Blackmores naturopath).
Jennifer
Jennifer 06 May 2013
hi ive got gout on my right foot the first toe side effect my pain everyday like wearing my work boots...
how the gout will stop the pain?? because i lost a alot weight maybe bout 10kilo and my goal is 71kilo now so far...
now still alot of pain..
so what the cause of the gout?
Anonymous
Anonymous 06 May 2013
Hi there Helen! Blackmores does not make an alfalfa product and I'm not aware if there is an alfalfa product available in Australia. You would need to look at if the extract dose would be able to reduce uric acid levels. Alternatively an extract of celery seed could be of assistance. Celery has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity, as well as significant diuretic properties. Celery seed can increase the elimination of uric acid from the kidneys. Uric acid is the end product of purine metabolism. Foods high in purines therefore contribute to the body's production of uric acid. These foods include organ meats (e.g. liver, kidneys, brains, heart, lambs fry), prawns, lobster, oysters, salami, pate, sardines and anchovies. I hope this is of assistance. Kind regards Emma (Blackmores Naturopath)
Emma
Emma 30 Apr 2013
hello, Ive heard that one can take Alfalfa for Gout, what do you think ?
helen b
Anonymous
Anonymous 29 Apr 2013
Dear John
Thanks for your post
I recommend you discuss these symptoms and your current medication with your GP or pharmacist as they will be able to advise you if these are side effects to your medication.
Foods containing substances known as purines can aggravate gout. Foods containing purines include- gravies, stocks, organ meats, shellfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, spinach, mussels, mushrooms and asparagus.
As purines are found mainly in the muscle tissue of the animal, not in the fat, we expect there to be only a negligible amount of purines in fish oil. However we do not currently test for the absence or presence of the protein purine, therefore we unable to guarantee that symptoms will not be experienced on an individual basis if taking fish oils. All the best John. Kind regards,
Charmaine (Blackmores naturopath)
Charmaine
Charmaine 08 Apr 2013
1) Can medicines like Atenolol Aspirin and Crestor cause gout, I'm on these and the side effects are much similar to gout but in my hands/thumb areas.
2) Can fish oils cause gout?
Anonymous
Anonymous 08 Apr 2013