Your Gout Diet Guide: Ease Gout Symptoms Through Diet

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The symptoms of gout can be unbearable when they’re at their worst. Since most people experience excruciating pain and swelling in their big toe, ankles, or knees, a flare-up can potentially make it extremely uncomfortable, or even impossible, to walk. The best remedy for a gout attack is to stop it before it even begins. A combination of gout medications and dietary changes can help reduce the number and severity of gout incidents.

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What is Purine and Why is it Vital I Limit it?

To understand what you should and shouldn’t eat, you should first understand why. The enemy is something called purine. Purine is a chemical compound that is found in many foods and drinks. In order to process purine, the body creates uric acid. In people with gout, uric acid builds up in the body and is not able to eliminate it efficiently.

When uric acid accumulates in the blood, it begins to crystallize. This crystallization triggers swelling and intense pain in the body’s joints.

4 Simple Dietary Rules to Live By When You Have Gout

The following rules can help you reduce your chances of having a gout flare-up.

Drink More Water

Water helps the body regulate its self and maintain the correct level of chemicals in the bloodstream. This is the first step in changing your diet for the better, especially when water is consumed in place of sugary drinks or alcoholic beverages.

Reduce Calorie Intake if Overweight

Losing weight can really help to limit the effects of gout. Studies show that those who are overweight are less efficient at removing uric acid from the kidneys.

Limit Alcohol

Just two alcoholic beverages can increase a person’s risk of developing an acute gout attack. If possible, remove alcohol from your diet completely. If you still wish to drink, it’s highly recommended that you only have one drink.

Continue Taking Medication

Dietary changes alone are not enough to eliminate gout symptoms, but it does help. Uric acid levels can be reduced by about 15 percent with proper diet. Your medication will still be a vital part of your treatment plan.

High Purine Foods: Avoid

Foods that have naturally high purine levels should be avoided when possible. These types of foods include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Seafood – shrimp, scallops, anchovies, sardines, and herring
  • Gamey meats – goose, duck, and venison
  • Organ meats – liver and kidneys
  • High fructose corn syrup drinks – soda and certain coffee beverages

Medium Purine Foods: Eat Limited Quantities

Foods that have a moderate purine level can be eaten, but be sure to not over-indulge:

  • Meat – beef, chicken, and pork
  • Certain vegetables – asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and green peas
  • Drinks with real sugar – fruit juices and sweetened coffee or tea.
  • High wheat products – wheat bran and wheat germ

Low Purine Foods: Safe to Eat in Higher Quantities

The following foods are lower in purine, so they will have a minimal impact on your body’s uric acid levels:

  • Most vegetables not listed above
  • Any type of fruit
  • High-carb products – pasta, rice, bread, and popcorn.
  • Nuts – peanut butter, peanuts, cashews, almonds, and all other types of nuts.
  • Low-fat dairy – milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Unsweetened beverages – coffee & tea

Consult With Your Charlotte Joint Care Specialist

If you’re suffering from gout, consider visiting one of our Charlotte and Ballantyne rheumatology offices. Dr. John Brandese and Dr. Alireza Nami have years of experience creating treatment plans for patients with an array arthritic symptoms. Get in touch with us today to make an appointment!

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The 5 Most Common Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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If you continually experience pain in your joints, especially in the hands, wrists, or knees, you may be one of the 1.5 million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Commonly known as RA, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy joint tissue, causing it to become inflamed. This inflammation leads to the destruction of the joint tissue over time.

Who Is At-Risk For Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Did you know that women in Charlotte, and North Carolina in general, are much more likely to suffer from arthritis than men? In the Tar Heel State, approximately 26 – 34 percent of women will be affected by arthritis, while only 21 – 23 percent of men will be. In addition to gender being a risk factor, a person is more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis if they:

  • Are 40+ years of age
  • Have a family history of RA
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Smoke cigarettes

5 Common Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms to Watch Out For

In most cases, symptom severity will start out mild and get progressively pronounced as time goes on.

Chronic Fatigue

Fatigue from RA goes beyond simple tiredness or sleepiness. Even with an adequate amount of sleep and rest, the inflammation and pain caused by the disease can make it extremely difficult to find the energy to do some of even the simplest tasks.

Pain or Stiffness in the Morning

Just after waking up, it’s completely normal to feel a bit groggy, and experience muscle tightness. But when these symptoms last 30 minutes or longer, it could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. In more advanced stages of RA, this stiffness could last most of the day.

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More Than One Joint is Affected

It’s pretty common for an older person to have a knee that acts up every once in a while, or maybe a sore hip from an old injury. When pain or discomfort is felt in multiple sets of joints, it could be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.

RA tends to affect areas in pairs. For example, if one wrist hurts, chances are the other one will too. Or, if one knee is tight and has lost mobility, the other knee is likely to exhibit the same symptoms.

There are Issues With Your Eyes, Mouth, or Skin

The inflammation caused by RA can affect more than just your joints. Some sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis may experience:

  • Eye issues: dry eye, eye redness, or a loss of visual acuity
  • Symptoms of the mouth: gum infections, gum redness, chronic dryness, or bleeding gums
  • Skin bumps: nodules may be felt in the skin over bony areas

Pain Moves From Smaller Joints to Larger Ones

During the early stages of the disease, small joints in the fingers and toes are the most likely to be affected. Over time, this pain can travel to the wrists, ankles, and knees.

When Should I See a Rheumatologist?

If your doctor suspects that you may have RA, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, do not delay in making an appointment with a rheumatoid arthritis specialist. Since the disease is degenerative, it can cause life-long symptoms that can’t be reversed. In fact, RA is a leading cause of work disability.

The Joint Muscle Care Medical Care and Research Institute is your go-to resource for rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and treatment in the Queen City. We have two convenient Rheumatology offices in Charlotte – so, whether you’re near Ballantyne or Uptown, we offer the experience and expertise to find a treatment plan that is right for you.

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