Is Gout Ruining Your Holidays?

Holiday FoodThe holidays are usually filled with family and food. Unfortunately, if you suffer from gout, the holidays can also be full of pain and frustrations. Gout is a systemic disorder that causes elevated blood levels of uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product of the body. The overproduction of uric acid or the impaired ability of the body to excrete uric acid causes crystals to form in the joints. Gout is usually recognized as the inflammation of a single joint where the uric acid has pooled. The immune system reacts to these crystals with the same response it would have to any other foreign invader and causes inflammation. The affected joints become swollen, red, warm, and very painful. In 90% of cases, the first episode of gout affects the base of the big toe.

Symptoms of gout include:

-Sudden and severe joint pain

-Swelling or redness around the joint

-Kidney stone symptoms are also possible.

The best way to prevent gout is to avoid foods that cause the body to increase uric acid production. Foods high in purines like liver, anchovies, kidneys and sweetbreads, may raise uric acid levels. Pay attention to the foods that trigger your gout outbreaks and avoid those foods. Many people have episodes after eating fatty, rich foods like shellfish, pork and red meat. Also, several studies have found that people with insufficient hydrochloric acid production increase their risk of gout.

The holidays should be a time to enjoy. However, if you have gout you will have to be more diligent about what you eat. Remembering to eat rich, fatty foods in moderation, avoiding excessive alcohol and filling up on healthy food choices can help keep your holidays festive and your pain away.