Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects various joints throughout the body. When you're living with gout, you may go through periods of flare-ups and remission, only to end up in pain again.
Taking control of gout is the only way to get long-term relief of symptoms. Various treatments are available, but sometimes, it takes a few lifestyle changes to get the condition under control.
Dr. David Deiboldt and the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team offer expert evaluations and treatment for gout when it affects the legs and feet.
Dr. Deiboldt is an experienced podiatrist who provides conservative treatment options to help you eliminate gout symptoms for pain-free living.
The facts on gout
Many forms of arthritis exist and affect the joints in your body. The primary forms of arthritis are degenerative and inflammatory. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that often affects the joints in your legs and feet.
Gout flares happen when the body either makes too much urate or doesn't eliminate enough, causing it to build up. High levels of urate lead to sharp crystals that form inside the joint space, causing inflammation and pain.
The symptoms of gout may flare suddenly from the swelling around the joint. These flares can last for several weeks before subsiding.
Gout can affect other areas of the body besides the joints. People living with gout may also have symptoms from crystals forming in the kidneys, bursa sacs, and tendon sheaths in the body.
The good news is that gout is one of the simplest forms of arthritis to control through medications and lifestyle changes.
Can changing my diet help?
If you're living with gout, you probably have high levels of uric acid in your body, which leads to painful crystals forming in your joints or kidneys. Some people have high uric acid from eating too many foods that contain purines.
Purines are a type of chemical present in different forms of foods and drinks. The byproduct of purines that the body breaks down is uric acid. If you eat many foods that contain purines, you're likely to have high uric acid levels in the blood.
Dr. Deiboldt suggests a low-purine diet for anyone living with gout symptoms. Lowering your intake of purine-rich foods helps reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood, which decreases the risk of a gout flare.
There are good foods and bad foods for people living with gout. Getting the proper information on what you can and can't eat helps you change your eating habits to control the pain and inflammation associated with gout.
Tips to treat gout through food
As with any specialized diet, there are foods you can and can't eat with a low-purine or gout diet. Dr. Deiboldt explains what foods may trigger high uric acid levels and which help you improve your symptoms.
There are some foods you should avoid when you're living with gout, and they include the following:
- Organ meats
- High fructose corn syrup
- Some seafood
- Game meats
- Sugary drinks
Avoid these foods as much as possible to lower uric acid levels and prevent gout flares from starting or worsening.
Just as there are foods to avoid, there are also foods you should include in your diet to reduce uric acid levels further. Dr. Deiboldt suggests adding the following foods to your diet:
- Low-purine fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains (but not oats)
- Lean proteins
It would be best if you also aimed to drink eight glasses of water per day to help flush the kidneys out and avoid kidney stones. Water intake also helps your body eliminate excess uric acid, which helps control gout flares.
Call the Beltsville, Maryland office today if you're struggling with gout, or request a consultation with Dr. Dieboldt using our convenient online scheduling tool.