Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, who will be dispensing medical advice in the Leinster Express' new column.
How are gout attacks prevented?
Maintaining adequate fluid intake helps prevent acute gout attacks. Adequate fluid intake also decreases the risk of kidney stone formation in patients with gout.
Alcohol is known to have diuretic effects that can contribute to dehydration and precipitate acute gout attacks. Alcohol can also affect uric acid metabolism and cause hyperuricemia. It causes gout by impeding (slowing down) the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys as well as by causing dehydration, which precipitates the crystals in the joints.
Additional prevention techniques:
Dietary changes can help reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Since purine chemicals are converted by the body into uric acid, purine-rich foods are avoided. Examples of foods rich in purines include shellfish and organ meats, such as liver, brains, kidneys, and sweetbreads. Researchers have reported that meat or seafood consumption increases the risk of gout attacks, while dairy consumption seemed to reduce this risk.
Weight reduction can be helpful in lowering the risk of recurrent attacks of gout. This is best accomplished by reducing dietary fat and caloric intake, combined with a regular aerobic exercise program.
Anything else that worries you, contact your doctor within 24 hours.