In the past twenty years, the rate of gout has doubled—mostly due to a change in diet and exercise habits in the American population. If you remember your history, you may also remember that gout symptoms are traditionally thought of as affecting king’s and rich men, and that Benjamin Franklin, who suffered from gout symptoms, had a bit to say about it:
“Be temperate in wine, in eating, girls, and sloth, or the Gout will seize you and plague you both,”
As was clearly known back then, there are lifestyle changes that help to naturally treat gout symptoms that affect almost 2% of the population at some point in their lives.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the build up of uric acid crystals. It is sometimes the underlying cause of osteoarthritis.
Gout is properly diagnosed by having a joint fluid sample examined for high levels of uric acid crystals.
Gout becomes more likely with age, but there other other risk factors for symptoms. Some people are genetically predisposed to having higher uric acid levels, others have health or lifestyle risk factors.
Metabolic syndrome is a good example of why gout symptoms are becoming more common in Americans: it includes aging, being overweight, diabetes (specifically insulin resistance, so pre-diabetics would also be at risk), heart disease, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.
For gout, diet is a huge risk factor as well. Meat, seafood, sugary drinks, and alcohol consumption increase the risk for gout symptoms. Other risk factors include not urinating enough, low-body temperature (especially at night) and sleep apnea.
Symptoms of gout include a red, painful, swollen joint, most commonly the big toe; although knees, wrists, and fingers can also be affected. Other gout symptoms may include fever and fatigue.
In some cases, gout symptoms may require immediate medical intervention rather than natural gout treatment. Even acute gout can cause a decrease in kidney function, for example. Gout symptoms can be responsible for uric-based kidney stones, and if they’re too big a doctor may need to assist in removal (or too many may cause the decrease in kidney function by blocking excretion).
If left untreated, gout can cause more severe complications over time. Larger uric acid crystals, called tophi, can start to build up in the body.
Natural Gout Treatment
Ultimately, gout is cured by lifestyle change, even if immediate medical intervention may be necessary (see above). For most people, gout symptoms will go away within a week, but without gout treatment they will recur within the year.
-Avoid diet triggers like too much meat, seafood, alcohol, or sugary drinks.
-Drink more water to help keep the kidneys flushing out uric acid build up.
-Hate water? Try coffee (not tea). Coffee is a diuretic, which helps with urine output (watch for dehydration), and it’s been shown to help with gout symptoms. Tea, on the other hand, has nutrients that may increase kidney stone production if you’re at risk.
-Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C—increasing Vitamin C levels may immediately reduce uric acid levels.
-Dairy products may help, and can substitute for what you’re reducing in your diet (just watch fat consumption)
-Exercise is crucial: not only does it help maintain a healthy weight, it eliminates the risks of a sedentary lifestyle.
-For those severly overweight, a low-calorie diet will have immediate effects.
-In some cases, baking soda may be recommended to increase pH levels—consult a specialist.
-Cherry juice (or dried cherries) may help decrease uric acid levels.
-Applecider Vinegar has also been used sucessfully for getting rid of gout (See below!).
Do you have any tricks for getting rid of gout symptoms? Share below!