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How Your Diet Could Be Behind Your Gout

It may surprise you to hear that gout is a type of arthritis. However, unlike other joint conditions that develop from cartilage degeneration, this form occurs because of high levels of uric acid in your body.

Uric acid is a naturally occurring substance. Your body makes it when it digests purines, which come from specific foods. When you have high levels of uric acid, it builds up in your system and forms sharp crystals in your joints or surrounding tissue, causing gout symptoms.

Nearly 50% of gout cases affect the big toe, but you can also experience problems in joints such as your wrists, fingers, heels, and knees.

At AllCare Foot & Ankle Center, Dr. Michael V. Tran specializes in bone and soft tissue problems in the feet and ankles. Here, he explains why it could be time to rethink your diet if you have recurring gout attacks.

Why uric acid levels rise

Uric acid is a waste product. You end up with high uric acid levels for two reasons: your body produces too much, or your kidneys remove too little. Several factors increase your chances of having high levels of uric acid, such as:

Because uric acid is a byproduct of purine, your diet also plays a significant role in your chances of having gout.

Food and gout

It’s important to note that purine in and of itself isn’t bad. However, one-third of the uric acid produced by your body comes from the purines you consume. That means eating a lot of purine-heavy foods increases the uric acid in your system. And, the more uric acid you have in your body, the more likely you are to experience a gout attack.

Foods high in purine include:

Without treatment, gout can lead to joint erosion and deterioration. It’s also possible to experience recurrent gout attacks, urate crystals forming in tender nodules under the skin, or kidney stones.

Eating to avoid gout attacks

Dr. Tran can put together a personalized treatment strategy to help manage your gout symptoms. These therapies typically include medications and topical pain relievers to help keep you comfortable. He also recommends making the following dietary changes:

It’s also important to take steps to reach and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, reducing the calories you consume when combined with weight loss can help lower uric acids and gout attacks, even without limiting the purine-rich foods in your diet. 

If you have gout, Dr. Tran can help you manage your symptoms. Contact AllCare Foot & Ankle Center and schedule an appointment in Arlington or Dallas, Texas.

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