Once you’ve been diagnosed with gout, it can seem like you have a life sentence. But the truth is, it is a pretty manageable condition. Gout is one of the oldest diseases out there and dates as far back as 2600 BC. Over the years, we have made a lot of progress in controlling this disease and those who have it are still able to live normal lives.
Do you want to know how you can take better control of your gout? Keep reading as I’ll share with you the 9 best tips for doing exactly that!
Find Out Your Uric Acid Level
The first step to controlling your gout is to find out your uric acid level. Visit your doctor and they will do a urine test or blood test.
If your uric acid is too high, they might give you medication to help lower it. They might also refer you to a rheumatologist who can give you advice on other ways to lower your uric acid.
Get Checked Regularly
Gout is a lifelong condition so it’s important that you get yourself checked once every few months. This is to help you know what your uric acid level is and whether your treatments are working.
If your levels haven’t improved you may need to make more or different adjustments. Your doctor or rheumatologist can help you make a plan.
Prevention Is Important
Prevention is better than cure. In your case, you must know where you stand with your uric acid levels because high uric acid levels increase your risk of a gout attack. This is why preventing high uric acid levels is so important.
You know what a gout flare feels like and you don’t want it to happen again. However, if you don’t do anything to prevent it, it will only get worse.
Change Your Diet
Now that you know what your uric acid level is, it’s time to look at some changes you can make. You’re probably taking medication to help manage your gout, but lifestyle changes can help too.
The number one lifestyle change you need to make is changing your diet. This is because gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is the breakdown of purines, and purines are in all the foods that we eat. Some foods have high purines while some have low purines.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout
If you have gout, the goal is to eat foods with low purines and avoid ones that are high in purines. The worst offenders are meat, seafood, sweet foods, and alcohol.
Think of the last time you had a gout attack. You probably had one of these food items the day before which is what caused your uric acid to rise.
Aside from diet, you also need to be exercising. Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle but can also help you lose the excess weight that’s causing strain on your joints.
Did you know when you are overweight or obese, you have excess uric acid in your blood? Luckily, this can be eliminated by losing weight.
Exercises for Gout
You don’t have to do the most intense exercises right away. With gout, simple is better. The goal is to get you moving and sweating. Cardiovascular exercises are a good start. You can also try stretching exercises.
Further, resistance exercises and strength training are great for gout too. That said, make sure you talk to your doctor first as these are considered high-intensity exercises.
Drink More Water
If you’re into soft drinks, fruit juices, and other sugary beverages, now is the time to quit and replace them with water. As mentioned above, sweet drinks elevate the uric acid in your blood putting you at risk for a gout attack.
Instead, you’ll want your liquid intake to be mostly water. Water is highly accessible, and it helps not just with your gout but your overall health as well.
Is Frequent Urination a Concern?
Are you worried about frequent trips to the bathroom after consuming lots of water? You shouldn’t be!
If anything, that is a good sign that you’re eliminating uric acid from your body via urine. The recommended amount is six to eight glasses of water a day but if you can consume more than that, even better!
Get the Right Medication
Having gout means you’ll be taking various kinds of medication. But which types of medication you take will depend on your situation.
There is medication for dealing with pain from a gout attack. There is also medication specifically for preventing a gout attack. The latter is intended to be taken long-term to keep your symptoms at bay.
In the beginning, your doctor might prescribe it for a short term to see how it works for you. But eventually, they will advise that you take the right medication long-term. It’s important that you listen to your doctor’s recommendations.
The Importance of Taking Your Medication
Many gout sufferers make the mistake of skipping their medication once they don’t feel any symptoms anymore. They think that diet and exercise alone will help them cope. But the reality is that lifestyle change alone isn’t enough.
Gout is very sneaky. Just because you don’t feel anything, doesn’t mean it’s not there anymore. You can be fine one day, and then experience excruciating symptoms the next day. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
So, follow your doctor’s advice of taking the medicine regularly. When you skip doses, it can cause the uric acid to go up and down which is a recipe for disaster and can cause a big gout flare.
Keep an Eye on Your Other Conditions
If you have gout, you’re probably suffering from other conditions too like diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and metabolic syndrome. It’s vital that you get the proper treatment for these as well.
The good news is that most of the lifestyle recommendations provided above are beneficial for these conditions too. So, if you find it hard to deal with one condition alone, just start small with your diet and exercise and gradually make changes from there.
Follow the Advice From Your Doctor
Making adjustments to your lifestyle can be a challenge in the beginning. But find comfort in knowing that you can live a fairly healthy (and normal) life even with gout.
You simply must follow the advice from your doctor. Another important factor in controlling your gout is to stay consistent with your treatment.