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Are You Eating Foods That Make Your Gout Flare Up?

Are You Eating Foods That Make Your Gout Flare Up?

It’s impossible to ignore gout symptoms, especially because they often come on in the middle of the night. But if you’ve ever felt like your toe is on fire, you can fight back.

It often surprises people to learn that gout is a type of arthritis. While many joint conditions are due to cartilage degeneration, this complex form develops in response to high levels of uric acid in the body.

Your body makes uric acid when it digests purines, a substance that comes from specific foods. Normally, this doesn’t cause issues. However, consistently high levels of uric acid can build up in your system, causing sharp crystals to form in the joints or surrounding tissue. 

That’s when those painful, telltale gout symptoms flare up in the affected area, including:

Most people associate gout with the big toe — which does account for most gout cases — but you can also develop problems in fingers, wrists, heels, and knees.

At Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, our talented team specializes in bone and soft tissue problems affecting the feet and ankles. Do you have recurring gout attacks? You may be eating foods that make you more prone to gout flare-ups.

Understanding uric acid

You can have high levels of uric acid — a waste product — in your system for two reasons: Your body makes too much, or your kidneys remove too little. 

You have an increased chance of having high levels of uric acid if you:

And because uric acid comes from purine, your diet also plays a role in developing gout.

Your diet and gout

Purine in and of itself isn’t bad. But because one-third of the uric acid made by your body comes from the purines you consume, eating a lot of purine-rich foods increases the amount of uric acid you have in your system. And, as mentioned above, the more uric acid you have in your body, the higher your chances of a gout attack.

Types of foods with high levels of purine include:

Untreated gout can cause permanent joint erosion and deterioration. You can also experience recurrent gout attacks, have urate crystals form in tender nodules under your skin, or develop kidney stones.

Choosing foods that help prevent gout flare-ups

If you have gout, our team can put together a personalized treatment strategy to manage your symptoms, such as topical pain relievers and medications to increase your comfort. We also recommend making specific dietary changes:

You should also work to reach and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, losing weight and reducing the calories you consume can help reduce uric acids and gout attacks — even if you don’t limit the purine-rich foods in your diet. 

Do you have gout? Our team can help get your symptoms under control. Contact Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey and schedule an appointment today.

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