Tips for Living with Gout

patient-resources

  • Vitamin C helps lower uric acid in the blood. A lot of people think of oranges when they think of vitamin C, but did you know red bell peppers actually have more vitamin C than oranges? Better yet, raw red bell peppers yield more vitamin C than cooked.
  • Although you generally ice an inflamed and swelling joint, you may want to reconsider icing a joint afflicted by gout since cooler temperatures can promote uric acid crystal formation.
  • You also want to avoid putting heat on an inflamed joint because it will promote more inflammation.  Rather, try taking a pain killer and resting the joint.
  • There isn’t a linear relationship between uric acid levels and gout symptoms (i.e. more uric acid does not necessarily mean more pain). Additionally, new research suggests that elevated uric acid levels are associated with heart risk. It is therefore important to monitor and control uric acid levels, even when you feel fine.
  • Sometimes patients who never had flare-ups start experiencing them when they start taking Allopurinol or other uric acid lowering medications. Patients often interpret this as a bad sign but it actually means the medication is working. The medication is likely breaking down uric acid deposits that may have formed in joints and the release of this uric acid is causing the symptoms. However, it is important to clear uric acid and continue taking your medication since long term elevated uric acid levels can lead to kidney stones and tophi, and increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • It is advised to cut down on meat and seafood to help manage gout. If you’re concerned about cutting back protein from your diet, try vegetable sources of protein such as tofu, lentils and peanut butter and low-fat dairy products. In fact, consumption of vegetable protein sources and low-fat dairy products has been found to be protective against gout. Source: Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men. N Engl J Med. 2004
  • It is important to stay physically active, even with gout. Try wearing thick-soled running shoes that will absorb shock and protect gout-ridden feet. However, despite using good quality shoes, you should avoid high impact activities such as jumping and running.
  • Gout flare-ups may be aggravated by hot and humid weather. You can cope with this by drinking water to stay hydrated.