Dealing with Gout - Diet, Food, and Lifestyle Changes

What is Gout? Gout is a form or arthritis that flares up when there is a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream causing inflamed joints.  Acute gout is more severe and generally affects only one joint. Chronic gout usually involves one or more joints and causes repeated episodes of joint pain and inflammation. Having high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream can occur if your body makes excessive amounts of uric acid or if you the body is unable to rid itself of uric acid.  When this excess uric acid builds up around a joint, uric crystals form and the crystals cause the inflammation and swelling of the joint.  The exact cause if gout in not known, but it does run in families and is more common in men and postmenopausal women. People with other conditions such as diabetes, obesity, kidney disease and leukemia are likely to develop gout. 

Gout Symptoms

Symptoms can affect one or more joints at a time. The joints most often affected are the big toe, the ankles and knees. The pain starts suddenly and can be excruciating. The joint is warm, red and tender. Some people do not have any later attacks, while others develop chronic gout.

Gout Treatments

There are several medical treatments for gout. Taking nonsteroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen as soon as the symptoms begin can help lessen the pain and inflammation. Doctors often prescribe pain killers to patients suffer with gout. These medications include codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Colchicine is another prescription medication that helps reduce swelling, inflammation and pain

For those who suffer with chronic gout, the doctor often prescribes medications such as allopurinol and probenecid. Patients take these medications daily to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. 

Gout - Diet, Food, and Lifestyle Changes

Making some diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce gout attacks.  Avoid alcoholic beverages, reduce red meat consumption, eat less fatty meals and fried foods. Some foods are purine rich and should be avoided. These include organ meats, anchovies, legumes, gravies, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus and brewer’s yeast. If you are on a diet to lose weight, take it slow, as losing weight too quickly can cause uric acid kidney stones to form. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water to help the body rid the itself of uric acid.

How to deal with Gout flare-ups

There are a few things you can do to help ease pain, swelling and discomfort of gout along with taking medication. 

Stay off your feet- putting pressure on the joint will increase pain and possibly damage the area.

Keep the affected joint elevated- this will slow the rush of blood to the joint and help reduce swelling.

Avoid using ice or heat on the joint- unlike other types of pain, gout does not respond well to heat or ice. Heat speeds up circulation and cause more inflammation. Uric crystals form more rapidly in lower temperatures, so hold the ice. 


Gout can be managed if you follow some lifestyle and diet changes as well as follow any doctor instructions and take your medication as directed.