Gout can take over your life not just your feet. Pressure from anything from a shoe to bedsheets can be excruciating. Unfortunately, gout cannot be completely cured. But the good news is that gout can be kept well under control, if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort. (But then, a little effort to avoid a LOT of pain sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it?) During the gout attack itself, your main goal will be to reduce the inflammation in your joint. This may be accomplished by:
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication (often prescription strength) such as ibuprofen or corticosteroid injections.
- Elevating the affected joint (at or slightly above heart level) will also provide relief.
- Avoid walking or otherwise putting stress on the joint.
Once you’ve begun treatment, you should experience some relief within twelve to twenty-four hours, and your symptoms should be resolved within three to ten days. After the inflammation has disappeared, you’ll be able to avoid future attacks by making dietary changes, and by taking medication that will enable your body to either block the formation of uric acid, or increase your ability to eliminate uric acid already in your bloodstream. Gradual weight loss may also help prevent future attacks (although be aware that rapid weight loss can actually precipitate attacks). Dietary restrictions usually involve avoiding food that contain high amounts of purines. (Remember, purines can lead to high uric acid levels in the blood.) You may be asked to reduce your intake of or completely avoid the following foods: Organ meats (such as liver, sweetbreads, brain, kidneys, heart, etc.) Gravies, meat extracts and meat broths Fish (particularly herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines) and scallops Goose and wild game Legumes (dried beans and peas) Mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower Fatty foods (such as fried foods or high-fat desserts) Baker’s or brewer’s yeast Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, hard liquors) This can seem like a lot to give up. Perhaps it’s best if you think of gout the way one might think of diabetes. Making the necessary lifestyle changes may be difficult, but the alternative is experiencing pain and eventual damage to your body.