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“Sweet dreams” is a common bedtime statement, but if you suffer from gout, you can wake up from your slumber to a nightmare of pain! This complex form of arthritis is characterized by sudden and severe attacks of pain in your joints, most commonly occurring in the big toe joint. There may be swelling, redness, and tenderness in the area as well as decreased mobility and an extreme burning sensation.
Pain can be so intense that even the weight of your bed sheet can be intolerable. Unless treated, gout attacks can occur over and over again, eventually causing harm to joints and tendons. It is essential to get this condition under control, not only to prevent pain, but future damage as well—not to mention to ensure a good night’s sleep!
Your body naturally produces uric acid when breaking down proteins in your blood. Sometimes, too much acid is produced or too little is excreted, and it begins to accumulate in the blood. When this happens, sharp and painful crystals form in your joints and surrounding tissues, eventually triggering sudden attacks of pain that linger for hours, and sometimes even days or weeks.
While purines, the protein that causes gout, are found naturally in your body, they are also found in many foods. Therefore, one of the best ways to manage gout is to avoid foods with high levels of purines in them that encourage uric acid to build up. Stay clear of meats, especially game, organ meat, and seafood like shrimp, scallops, salmon, and tuna. Gravy is another no-no. You should also stay away from sweetened beverages, as well as alcohol. Instead, opt for plenty of water, fruits, and vegetables. Peanut butter, cheese, and eggs are also good choices. Be diligent about your diet and your chances of gout attacks will be significantly reduced. Besides, eating right can help you to maintain a healthy weight as well, which also decreases your risk.
Other risk factors to be aware of include family history and side effects of certain medications. Medical conditions left untreated can be contributors as well, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart or kidney diseases. As you grow older, your chances grow too, especially if you are male. Knowing these risk factors and treating underlying issues can go a long way toward managing your condition before it gets out of control.
If you are suffering from this painful form of arthritis, help is just a click or phone call away. Contact us using our online form or call (812) 333-4422 to make an appointment with Dr. Kevin J. Powers in our Bloomington, IN office. We can prescribe medication as well as help you plan a diet and exercise program. A few lifestyle choices can make a big difference. With our help you can get a grip on gout and get a good night’s sleep, too. Give us a call today. You can also reach us online or find us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.