Tips for Managing Gout Flare-ups

You finished dinner, and just as you’re relaxing on the couch enjoying your favorite show, you feel a familiar stabbing sensation. Before you know it, you’re doubled over in pain. This all-too-familiar scenario can leave gout patients feeling helpless and frustrated. Instead of suffering through yet another gout attack, read on to find out how you can take control and put gout flare-ups in your rearview mirror.

Understanding Gout

Gout attacks tend to strike suddenly, cause intense pain, and last several days. This inflammatory arthritic condition kicks into gear when the uric acid levels in your blood spike. Most adults have no problem with uric acid -- a byproduct of digesting foods that contain a natural substance called purine -- but some individuals have trouble breaking down this substance.

When uric acid levels remain high, crystals form and accumulate in your joints -- most often the big toe. It’s these crystals that cause the intense pain of gout attacks.

Avoid High-Purine Foods

Steer clear of purine-rich foods when you’re in the throes of a gout attack, because they’ll make the attack worse. Any time you eat purine-rich foods, uric acid spikes even higher, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re having an attack.

Craft your diet around gout-friendly, low-purine options. Check out these general guidelines if you’re wondering what you to eat:

High-purine and uric-acid-forming foods and beverages to avoid:

Low purine foods to enjoy:

With veggies, limit spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and dried peas and beans when you’re having a flare-up. Sticking to a low-purine diet not only helps manage gout attacks, but it helps reduce their frequency.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to manage a gout attack. Uric acid becomes much more concentrated when your fluid intake drops, intensifying the pain of a gout attack. When the pain hits, grab a glass of water. Doing so dilutes the uric acid crystals and reduces pain and inflammation.

Filling up on fluids also helps your body flush uric acid out, and boosting your daily fluid intake is shown to stop gout flare-ups and help you control attacks that do occur.

It helps to leave water out so that you remember to drink it. If you’re at work, keep a bottle of water at your desk, and if you’re out running errands, take a bottle of water with you.

Apply Ice

Next time you have a flare-up, relief can be as close as your freezer. That’s because ice goes a long way in easing symptoms. It constricts blood vessels to bring down inflammation, and it soothes pain. It also has numbing effect that will help you feel better within a few minutes of applying it.  

Use an ice pack if you have one. Otherwise, you can make your own using a standard washcloth. Hold the ice in place for a few minutes at a time and take short breaks to prevent circulation issues.

Don’t let a gout attack ruin your week. At Pure Medicine, Dr. Daniel Mijares and Dr. Jordan Pastorek offer patients effective gout management that involves making diet and lifestyle changes to keep gout flare-ups under control. Call one of the offices in Dallas or Frisco, Texas, or use our online booking tool to schedule your appointment.

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