Prevention

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Question

What should I do to prevent gout attacks in the future?

Answer

Uric acid is a natural byproduct of when your body breaks down purines. Foods like organ meats, anchovies, herring, asparagus and mushrooms that are especially high in purines can cause uric acid build-up. Uric acid normally dissolves in your bloodstream and is processed by your kidneys and passed into your urine. But when there is an excess of uric acid or your kidneys don't excrete enough, it can for sharp, needle-like urate crystals. These crystals can cause inflammation, pain and swelling.

Uric acid build-ups cause gout and inflame your joints.

You can follow these dietary guidelines to help prevent future gout attacks:

  • Drink plenty of water. Keep hydrated by drinking 2 to 4 liters (8 to 16 cups) of fluids every day. Water should make up at least half of your total fluid intake

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Consult your doctor to see if any type of alcohol or how much is safe for you. Recent studies state that beer may even increase your risk of experiencing gout symptoms - especially for males

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Diet should be a major concern for people with gout. Your diet should be made up of fruits, whole grains, vegetables and either low-fat or fat-free dairy products

  • Avoid eating meat, fish and poultry. Eating too much meat, fish and poultry may cause gout flare-ups. Document how much and what types of meat you're eating and keep track of what seems to cause flare-ups for you

  • Use low-fat dairy products for protein. Without meat, you may be wondering what will make up your daily protein intake. You should eat and drink more low-fat dairy products. Studies have shown that low-fat milk products may even protect you against gout. So use these instead of eating meats for protein

  • Watch your weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight may be one of the best weapons against gout flare-ups. Losing weight can even decrease uric acid levels and prevent flare-ups. But make sure to avoid rapid weight loss and starving yourself, since this can temporarily raise uric acid levels in your body

Read an In-Depth Report on gout in our Health Encyclopedia.

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