- According to Health Insurance, 0.9% of the French population suffered from gout in 2013.
- Men are more affected than women.
- Without treatment, it takes one to two weeks for a bout of gout to go away.
Intense pain in the middle of the night in a joint, which has become red and swollen, or even fever: the gout attack is often brutal, and always painful. These inflammatory outbreaks in a joint are caused by different factors. Medication can relieve the pain in a few hours, and basic treatments prevent the appearance of new crises. In some people, a change in diet may be enough to reduce the frequency of seizures.
What is gout?
This chronic disease is linked to “deposits of uric acid microcrystals in the joints and surrounding tissues”, specifies the health insurance. These deposits of microcrystals are the consequence of too high a level of uric acid in the blood, linked to “a food intake high in purines and especially by a lack of elimination by the kidneys of uric acid“. The purines, present in different foods and drinks, are degraded and then eliminated by the kidneys. The excess of uric acid in the blood causes the formation of crystals, which then settle in the joints, and will cause the inflammation, responsible for the crisis.
A diet low in purines
To limit the quantity of purines not eliminated by the organism, it is necessary to reduce their consumption. They are present in particular in alcohol, beer, sweet drinks rich in fructose, in foods rich in proteins such as meat (red meat, offal such as sweetbreads, brains and liver, charcuterie) or in certain fish (anchovies, herring). Seafood, whether shellfish or mussels, is also high in purines.
Conversely, certain foods help reduce the level of uric acid in the blood. Fruits, vegetables and other whole grains are preferred. Studies have shown that the consumption of cherries reduces the risk of seizures, like coffee, if drunk in moderation. Taking food supplements based on vitamin C would also help reduce the level of uric acid in the blood. Finally, it is recommended to lose weight, because being overweight increases the risk of seizures. The loss of a few pounds can also relieve the joints, abused by the disease.
Other factors involved
“Drugs that decrease the elimination of uric acid by the kidneys may be the cause of gout, adds health insurance. This is the case with certain diuretics or antihypertensives, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, anti-tuberculosis drugs. However, these treatments should not be discontinued without medical advice. Diseases such as kidney failure, metabolic syndrome, hypertension or diabetes are also risk factors.