Treating and Preventing Gout
The goals of treatment for gout are rapid pain relief and prevention of future gout attacks and long-term complications, such as joint destruction and kidney damage. There are many different treatment options and steps you can take at home to prevent future attacks.
Can gout be treated?
With proper treatment a gout attack can be controlled within 12 to 24 hours and treatment stopped after a few days. To reduce the pain, swelling, redness, and warmth of the affected joint(s) in an acute gout attack, these are your options:
- Rest and elevation. Stay off your feet and rest the affected joint(s). It may be beneficial to keep the affected joint elevated above the level of your heart.
- Cold wrap therapy. Apply a cold compression wrap. Cold compression wraps interrupt pain signals and reduce inflammation. Gout immobilizes your joints by inducing swelling in the surrounding tissue. The deep cold provided by cold compression wraps/braces slows this process.
Cold wraps numb the nerves to reduce the pain. In the early moments or hours of your flare-up, controlling inflammation is extremely important, especially because inflammation also strains the surrounding tissue causing more pain and damage. It has been proven that gout sufferers who use cold packs on their painful joints felt rapid relief and had no side effects. If you don't have a cold compression wrap for managing your gout pain, an important and safe treatment method is being ignored Our MendMeShop store contains a wide selection of cold compression wraps.
- Ultrasound Therapy. Ultrasound therapy is a great option to decrease inflammation, pain, tension and soft tissue damage experienced with gout. You can administer your own therapy using a portable, home ultrasound device or see a physiotherapist. The treatment is easy, painless, safe, and generally requires between 5 - 10 minutes. It is based on a form of deep tissue therapy, which is generated through high frequency sound waves (that we can not hear). These waves send vibrations deep into your body and raise the temperature of your soft tissue. The waves are delivered through a hand held transducer and medicinal conductive gel that are used together in a slow, circular motion on your skin over the affected area. You may experience a slight tingling or warm sensation during the process as a result of the gel; this enhances the therapeutic effects of ultrasound (phonophoresis). You deserve specialized, professional care. Get your own ultrasound kit from MendMeShop.
- Medication. Your health professional may prescribe one or more of the following medications at the first sign of a gout attack:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or indomethacin.
My attack is over, am I healed?
Even if your attack has subsided, see your doctor! The buildup of uric acid that led to the attack can still harm you. Left untreated gout can lead to:
- Kidney disease and kidney stones.
- Other joints becoming affected.
- Attacks becoming more frequent.
Can I prevent Gout?
Gout is definitely a manageable and preventable condition. There is no reason for you to suffer through these painful attacks. These are simple, yet very effective steps you can take to prevent and manage gout:
- Weight loss and weight maintenance. Eat a balanced diet full of protein, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and avoid or limit high-purine foods (which can increase uric acid levels). This will help support a healthy system and will help you to maintain your weight.
- Purine-reduced diet. Develop and maintain a reduced purine diet (see the eating plan below).
- Avoid alcohol. Limit or eliminate your alcohol consumption.
- Hydration. Keep properly hydrated all the time.
- Regular exercise. Exercise keeps your circulation up and your blood flowing. And, you will have more energy and be stronger too.
- Reduce Stress. Staying stress-free or working to reduce stress in your life is an important preventative measure against future gout attacks. A healthy mind often means a healthy body.
- Medication. Take a medication that reduces uric acid levels in the blood, which reduces the risk of future attacks:
- Uricosuric agents increase elimination of uric acid by the kidneys.
- Allopurinol decreases production of uric acid by the body.
- Drugs to avoid:
- Aspirin (ASA). It may abruptly change uric acid levels in the blood and may make symptoms worse.
- Allopurinol and Azathioprine (Imuran) used together. Combined, these medications can potentially be fatal.
Create a gout eating plan
There are several things you can do as part of an eating plan for gout.
- Avoid or limit foods that are high in purines, especially during a gout attack.
Eat foods that may lower your risk of gout.
- Organ meats such as liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains.
- Meats, including bacon, beef, pork, veal, and lamb.
- Game meats (partridge, pheasant, grouse, mutton, goose, turkey).
- Any other meats in large amounts, including gravy.
- Anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, trout, mussels, haddock, smelt, and scallops.
- Legumes, such as dried beans and dried peas.
Choose healthy foods.
- Low-fat or skim milk.
- Low-fat yogurt.
Limit your intake of substances that can raise your uric acid levels.
- A wide range of fruits and vegetables (cherries, blueberries, pineapple, tangerines, mandarins, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, red bell peppers, celery, kale).
- Whole grain breads, cereal, pasta, and rice
- Eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds for protein.
- Foods full of essential fatty acids (tuna, flax seed, nuts)
- Small amounts of meat. Limit your serving size to 2 to 3 ounces.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help your body get rid of uric acid.
- Avoid crash diets and low-carbohydrate diets.
- Do not eat too much protein-rich food.
- Do not take large amounts of vitamin C.
- Avoid or limit your alcohol intake.
Keep in mind that while reducing purine intake can help prevent and manage gout, purines are found in ALL protein-rich foods, and thus it is unhealthy to eliminate these foods from your diet entirely.
Do you have more questions?
If you have any questions regarding our therapeutic products and your treatment options, please contact a MendMeShop Advisor for assistance. You can be assured all your questions will be answered in a thorough and courteous manner by our trained staff.
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