Gout is an inflammatory condition that can cause pain in the joints in your feet, and the condition can seemingly come and go based on certain factors. Being mindful of these factors that contribute to or help alleviate gout can help you gain control over your condition and prevent painful flareups. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five common factors that can contribute to a gout flareup.
Common Gout Triggers
As we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, gout occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid in your joints. When there is too much of this acid present in your body, the acid can crystalize into physical irritants that then disrupt normal joint function. But what can lead to elevated levels of uric acid in your body? Here’s a look at five potential triggers of a gout flareup:
- Dietary Choices – Our diet plays a significant role in the amount of uric acid in our body. Certain foods are high in purines, which are chemical compounds that form uric acid when metabolized. If your diet is high in foods like red meat, turkey, liver and fish like trout and haddock, you may have elevated levels of purines in your body which can turn into uric acid and trigger a gout flareup. As with any food, moderation is key to a well-balanced diet.
- Alcohol Intake – Your alcohol intake can also significantly affect your likelihood of a gout flareup. Beer is packed with purines and alcohol reduces the amount of uric acid that is expelled from the body through urine. Reducing your alcohol intake or stopping consuming alcohol altogether can greatly reduce your risk of a gout flareup.
- Dehydration – One simple way to reduce your risk of a gout attack is to keep your body hydrated with water. When your body is dehydrated, it doesn’t have enough water to help your kidneys get rid of excess uric acid. Help your body flush uric acid out of your system by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Sugary Drinks And Foods – Foods and drinks that are high in sugar can certainly lead to a gout flareup. Fructose is broken down in the body into uric acid, so foods and drinks that have high sugar contents will lead to high uric acid levels in your body. That’s not to say you can never enjoy a cookie, but be mindful of your sugar intake if you have previously dealt with gout.
- Obesity – Finally, being overweight or obese can make you more likely to suffer a gout attack. When you’re carrying excess weight, your kidneys have to work harder to eliminate certain waste products, like uric acid. Studies have shown that obese individuals are up to 3.5 times more likely than healthy-weight individuals to have too much uric acid in their body. Losing just a little weight can make it much easier for your body to remove excess uric acid.
If you are mindful of these triggers and trust your care to an experienced foot specialist like Dr. McDonald, we’re confident that you’ll be able to regain control over your gout. For more information, or for help with a different foot issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald’s office today at (860) 244-8889.