Wealthy Peoples’ Disease-Gout – the foods you must eat

Written by Dr. Harold Gunatillake –Health writer

It is a disease that only the rich can afford. It was termed the “Kings’ disease”. It is a lifestyle disease the wealthy, and royalty, indulging in drinking wines and dining rich food are destined to acquire. It may be a coincidence but the majority who suffer from gout also seems to suffer from type 2 diabetes. Unhealthy lifestyles may bring both diseases, and those indulging pleasures may turn to a painful irreversible suffering. It is estimated that 68% of American adults are either overweight or obese and suffering from gout and type 2 diabetes. The incidence is much lower in Asian country where poverty seems to inhibit lifestyle diseases. In Sri Lanka, it is common among the Colombo folk indulging in western affluent lifestyles.

Gout is a condition that is caused due to a build-up of uric acid in the blood, and those crystals settling down around joints, like the knee and ankles. The irritation from the acid causes inflammation of the joints, revealing as pain, swelling, and redness. Gouty arthritis is common in the big toe in addition the lower limb joints, and hands and wrists.
It is the rich diet with high carbohydrate levels that produce diabetes, hand in hand with gout.

“A lot of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes are the same for gout,” says Michele Meltzer, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia who specializes in gout. By changing these risk factors, you can help prevent or fight both diseases.

Increase your fluids; drink at least 5-8 glasses of water daily. Avoid sugary sodas which may increase gout.

Purine intake: Purines are found in many foods we eat. Breakdown of purines cause increase of uric acid level in your blood. Organ meats, sardines and anchovies are very high in purines. Other vegetables having lower amounts of purines like beans, lentils, and asparagus are okay, still not on a daily basis
Some foods high in purines may not trigger gout, such as peas, beans, mushrooms, chickpeas, cauliflower, spinach and chicken.

Fruits tend to have very few purines; those having high levels of vitamin C, like tangerines, and oranges may prevent gout.

Low carb diets, high in proteins may have too many purines. Refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta have very few purines. High fibre carbohydrate foods like sweet potatoes and most vegetables are good for you.

Fish including cold-water fish like tuna and salmon are good for you. Even flaxseed and other seeds do not increase your uric acid level. Olive oil and coconut oil are safe cooking oils. Avoid foods containing any trans-fats.
Alcohol increases your gouty attacks, because they contain high levels of purines. Beer seems to be the worst. A glass of wine daily may not increase your acid levels.

Coffee seems to be okay for people having gout. Coffee may even lower the risk of gout attacks. Most caffeinated drinks may increase your uric acid level. Through trial and error you will know the beverages you should take.

Daily meat is bad news, very high in purines. You should even limit the amount of chicken, pork and lean beef. Meat products like gravies and meat-based broths are high in purines.
Drinking low fat milk and eating low-fat dairy may reduce your risk of gout.

Over weight: Being overweight is bad for people having gout. Talk with your doctor and go on a low calorie diet.
All foods with high purines may not trigger gout. Through trial and error you will know the foods you should avoid. Find out what can trigger gout and how to manage gout attacks. Acute gouty arthritis (red-hot joints) may be very painful. Check on triggering foods yourself and avoid such foods.

Lifestyle changes: Avoid stress, and exercise regularly, and drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages like water.

Treating at home:
Some people with gout, also known as gouty arthritis, say a gout attack begins with a burning, itching, or tingling feeling in a joint maybe an hour or two before their gout flare-up starts. The joint may feel a little stiff or a little bit sore. Not long after these warning signals, the tell-tale signs of gout begin. If you get repeated gout attacks, you'll learn your body's signals that a gout flare-up is about to begin.

If your gout has been diagnosed and your doctor has given you medicine for a gout flare-up, take the medicine as directed when you know you are having a flare-up. In most cases, that will probably be as soon as the first signs of gout begin.

The medications that are prescribed by doctors are as follows:
feboxostat (Uloric)
allopurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim)
colchicine (Colcrys)
probenecid (Benemid)
anturane (Sulfinpyrazone)

It is a chronic condition you can control

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