What is Gout?
There are times when a person will suddenly feel a sharp, excruciating pain in a single joint without any other buildup of symptoms. Whether it’s in the big toe, which is the most common location, or another joint in the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, or ankles, this person is probably experiencing a condition known as gout. Gout is a buildup of uric acid, which is a byproduct of protein metabolism, and results from the body either overproducing the acid or being incapable of properly excreting it. The uric acid builds up in the joint and crystallizes into gout. When gout becomes a recurring condition, lumps may develop under the skin in the outer ear, hands, feet, elbows, or knees of the sufferer. Most cases of gout are experienced by middle-aged men, but some postmenopausal women experience the condition as well.
How can I treat Gout?
Traditional Chinese medicine considers the red, swollen joint and the sharp pain associated with an affliction of gout to be indicative of a heat-based form of joint pain. Treatment focuses on resolving this heat and dampness that occurs in the joints through a diet high in fiber, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and fruits. Foods to eat include celery, cucumbers, asparagus, seaweed, shallots, capers, and scallions, as well as foods with antioxidants that help reduce excess uric acid including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dried plums, cherries, and grapes. Other remedies include drinking at least 80 ounces of filtered room temperature water every day, as well as eating a combination of mung beans, pearl barley, and red adzuki beans daily for one month. It is important to rest during an acute attack of gout, but otherwise regular exercise helps to reduce the possibility of obesity, which increases the risk of attacks.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Gout?
Given the challenges related to protein metabolism in gout, it is important to avoid high-protein foods such as red meat, shellfish, sardines, mussels, and organ meats. It is also advisable to avoid saturated fats, white flour and sugar, dairy products, spicy foods, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol. Some medications such as aspirin and drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease may cause gout as well.
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