|Gout's painful clout
Fit for life - Sunday, 15 September, 2002
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first experience with gout leaves you writhing in pain. Subsequent
encounters do not get any better. Welcome to the world of gout sufferers,
where excruciating pain and joint disfigurement are the order of the day.
effect, gout is more than just an arthritic condition. It is a metabolic
disorder where the uric acid level becomes elevated in the bloodstream,
either because of a high intake of purine (a type of amino acid) or
because the uric acid cannot be excreted from the body. The excess uric
acid crystallises and is deposited in the joint spaces, connective tissue,
tendons and other tissues resulting in inflammation, pain and subsequent
usually affects one joint at a time. The joint of the big toe is the prime
target, but almost any other joint, such as the knee, ankle, foot, hand,
wrist and elbow, can become a sore point. Deposits of uric acid, called
tophi, can appear as lumps under the skin around the joints and at the rim
of the ear. In addition, uric acid crystals can also accumulate in the
kidneys resulting in kidney stones.
anyone can fall prey to gout, the typical victim is a middle-aged person,
who may be overweight and have a family history of the disease. Once
horribly painful and debilitating, gout can now be easily controlled with
proper diet management and lifestyle modifications as well as nutritional
supplementation and herbal remedies.
low-purine diet continues to be the mainstay of dietary therapy for gout.
Avoid the purine-rich foods such as offal (liver, kidneys, tripe, heart,
tongue), red meat (beef, lamb), shellfish, fish roe, herring, sardines,
mackerel, scallops, mussels and anchovies, peas, lentils and beans,
mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower and yeast (brewer's and
refined carbohydrates increase uric acid production and saturated fats
reduce uric acid elimination, these foods should also be kept to a
protein intake may also accelerate uric acid synthesis in both normal and
gouty patients. It should therefore be eaten in moderation.
consumption of flavonoids, namely the anthocyanidins and
proanthocyanidins. These are found abundantly in cherries, hawthorn
berries, blue berries and other dark red-blue berries. These fruits have
also been shown to be very effective in lowering uric acid levels and
preventing attacks of gout.
an ideal body weight is the most important dietary goal in gout treatment.
Controlling body weight through a wellplanned exercise and dietary
programme can help reduce uric acid levels in those people who are
overweight or obese.
is always important to maintain and achieve health and wellness. Go for
exercises that do not aggravate the condition, such as walking or
swimming. Light exercises are helpful in maintaining a normal range of
motion, keeping the joint cartilage welllubricated and strengthening the
muscles around the joints.
radical nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamins C, E and zinc were also
recommended. Adequate intake of these nutrients prevents collagen
destruction through their potent free radical scavenging action and
reinforces the collagen matrix of connective tissues, thus maintaining
supple, healthy joints.