Gout is one of those conditions that not only require medication but also lifestyle changes. A change in lifestyle means you need to eliminate certain bad habits that contribute to a gout attack. We’re not just talking about diet. Little things such as not drinking enough water or wearing poorly fitted shoes can lead to a gout flare. This is why you need to be mindful of your habits and keep track of your common triggers.
Eating High Purine Foods
The biggest and most common trigger for gout is high purine foods. This is because purine breaks down into uric acid in the body which can accumulate and lead to a gout attack. In order to stay healthy with gout, you need to keep an eye on your purine intake making sure you are not consuming too much.
Foods that are high in purine include seafood, alcohol, organ meats, red meat, desserts, and sugary beverages. Some vegetables are also high in purines. That said, they are not as risky to eat since their vitamin and mineral content often counteracts the harmful effect of the purines.
As mentioned previously, alcohol is another common gout trigger. The worst offender is beer so be watchful of how much you drink every week.
The more you drink beer, the more likely you are to experience a gout attack. To be on the safe side, opt for wine instead, but make sure it’s consumed in moderation.
Drinking Sugary Beverages
Sugar seems to be everywhere, especially in today’s food industry. It’s important to be aware of this because sugar can cause gout attacks. This includes sugary drinks like fruit juice, soda, energy drinks, and iced tea. These are very high in sugar and can elevate the uric acid in your blood.
Don’t fall for the labels that make it seem like a drink is healthy. Labels like “zero sugar” or “all-natural” can be misleading. It usually means they used a different kind of artificial sweetener which can still trigger a gout attack. Make sure you read the ingredient label on the back and be on the lookout for sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Being Obese or Overweight
If you have gout and are also obese or overweight, you will be more prone to gout attacks. This is because excess fat makes more uric acid. The more overweight you are, the harder it will be for your kidneys to eliminate that extra uric acid from your blood.
In addition, being overweight also increases the hormone that regulates glucose in the body. Which in turn, raises uric acid. It is important to maintain a healthy weight if you have gout. This will make it easier on your joints and it will save you from those dreadful gout attacks!
Certain medications don’t react well with people who have gout. This includes medications for high blood pressure, heart failure, diuretics, and aspirin. If you are taking any of these drugs for another condition, make sure to speak with your doctor. They might be able to prescribe you another type of medication that won’t affect your gout.
Keep in mind, if you’re just starting to take uric acid-lowering medications, your gout might get triggered as well. But don’t worry, this only happens in the beginning.
Water is essential for everyone but also offers so many benefits to gout sufferers. It dilutes uric acid in the blood, encourages uric acid excretion, lubricates the joints, and best of all, it keeps you hydrated.
You want to avoid being dehydrated when you have gout as this can lead to a gout attack. When the body is dehydrated, uric acid levels rise, making it harder for the kidneys to eliminate the excess uric acid. So, don’t wait until you’re thirsty before grabbing a drink. Remember to drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
If you have recently undergone surgery, chemotherapy, or you’ve had a severe condition causing your uric acid levels to go up, a gout flare could be on its way. Make sure to speak with your doctor about your gout as they can advise you on how to best avoid or remedy a gout attack.
Wearing Poorly Fitted Shoes
Wearing the wrong-sized shoes can set off a gout attack. This is because the shoe can rub on the toe that’s affected. Most people experience pain in their feet due to incorrectly sized footwear. Don’t make that mistake again the next time you buy new shoes.
When shoe shopping, don’t just measure the length of your foot, measure the width and arch as well. Also, you might want to shop later in the day when your feet are at their biggest. This will save you from buying shoes that are too tight.
Here are a few more shoe shopping tips if you have gout:
- Stand when trying on a shoe since your feet will spread out more.
- Get the shoe size that fits the larger foot! Yup, no two feet are the same size.
- Leave at least half an inch at the front of the shoe, and ⅛-inch at the back of the shoe.
Everyone Is Different
Even though these are the most common gout triggers, not everyone is the same. This means that triggers that happen to other people won’t necessarily happen to you. For example, Someone you know who has gout might get triggered from a night of drinking alcohol while your gout might be triggered from a seafood feast. Everyone is different.
Unfortunately, there is no test that accurately determines what causes the uric acid to rise. Learn what your worst triggers are and avoid them as much as possible. The good news is that you’ll be able to tell right away what triggers your gout and keep a record so you can avoid these triggers in the future.