Things you can do to help with gout

Gout is a miserable disease that produces sudden and horrible joint pain.

"Classically it occurs in the great toe, but it can occur in any joint and the joint gets red, hot and swollen," says Dr. John Swartzberg at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Swartzberg says gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.

There are drugs that can help, but there are also things you can do on your own.

"If you're overweight, drop your weight. Don't go on a crash diet because if you go on a crash diet you'll break down a lot of protein initially and that raises your uric acid levels. Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol, especially beer can be very high in purines and that may increase your risk."

Other things you can do:

  • Go easy on red meat and certain kinds of seafood: herring, sardines, shrimp, scallops and anchovies.

  • Cut down on foods and beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

  • Dairy products and fruits/ vegetables may actually help prevent gout.

  • Never get dehydrated. Coffee is just fine.

If the problem persists, talk to you doctor. Some drugs, even non-prescription medications can increase your risk.

For more information

Mayo Clinic on Gout
Questions & Answers about Gout