The Link Between Uric Acid and Gout

Are you suffering from the burning pain gout brings? Did you know the foods and beverages you consume could be making your pain worse? Certain foods and beverages trigger an increase in your body’s production of uric acid, a waste product found in your blood. 

The board-certified podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers want to help you get your gout under control by explaining the link between uric acid and this painful condition. Here’s what you need to know!  

Understanding gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that causes swelling in the joint at the base of your big toe, though other joints and the areas around them may be affected. Gout is three times more common in men than women, and your risk of developing the condition increases after age 40. 

This painful condition is often described as a burning sensation in the big toe. This inflammatory type of arthritis can also make your big toe extremely sensitive to touch so that even minor contact can trigger severe pain. 

In addition to intense joint pain at the big toe, other symptoms of gout include:

Your provider at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers diagnoses gout using the information in your medical history, your current symptoms, and a physical exam. If gout is suspected, your provider will likely order lab tests to confirm the diagnosis

The link between uric acid and gout 

Your body creates uric acid to help break down special substances, called purines, found in certain foods. Gout develops when your body creates too much uric acid or when you eat more purines than your body can manage. 

When this happens, the uric acid your body produces builds up in your blood. Under normal conditions, the uric acid dissolves in your blood so it can enter your kidneys and exit through your urine. When you have too much uric acid, however, it forms hard, needle-like crystals that accumulate in your joints, causing gout. 

For most people, eating a diet rich in high-purine foods triggers the development of gout and gout flare-ups. High-purine foods linked to gout include:

Beverages with sugar and fructose can also lead to an increase in uric acid, but they do not contain purines.   

Managing uric acid and gout

If left untreated, gout can cause debilitating pain and may even permanently damage your affected joints. In some cases, hard nodules from a buildup of uric acid crystals can form under your skin. 

The best way to manage gout begins with an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Your podiatrist at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers has the expertise and experience needed to provide an accurate diagnosis of your condition so you can begin the most effective gout treatment possible. 

To help reduce any swelling, manage your pain, and break down the build-up of urate crystals, your podiatrist may recommend oral steroid medications or injections as well as other prescription medicines, like colchicine medications. 

Medical interventions can only go so far, however, when it comes to managing gout. For lasting relief, your provider discusses the importance of making key lifestyle changes, including:

You’ll also need to avoid consuming the high-purine foods listed above. While these foods may be enjoyable, they aren’t a necessary part of a healthy diet and can make gout worse. 

If you’re ready to learn more about the link between uric acid and gout or need help managing gout, the team at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers can help! Contact the office nearest you or request an appointment using our online booking tool today.

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