Gout is a particular type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. This buildup of uric acid causes sharp crystals to form in the joints, which in turn causes joint pain and inflammation. For decades, this medical condition had been known as the rich man’s disease. Essentially, it was branded as the rich man’s disease due to the contributing factors. Some of the risk factors or causes include genetics, obesity, lead exposure, and consumption of foods with high purine content.
Purine-rich Foods as Primary Cause of Gout
Purines are chemical compounds normally found in our body’s cells and in the food we eat. The breakdown of purines into uric acid is an essential function of our bodies because uric acid helps protect the linings of our blood vessels from damage. A problem occurs, however, when the levels of uric acid become abnormally high. The uric acid then crystallizes and gets deposited in the joints, kidneys and other organs, leading to gouty arthritis. While we need purines in our diet, it is, therefore, important that we keep their levels in check, or else they will become one of the causes.
Prevention and Treatment of Gout
When a person’s diet has been determined as one of the causes of gout, he is advised to follow a special low-purine diet. When his condition is already in a severe stage, he is asked to reduce his daily purine consumption to 100-150 milligrams. Please take note that a 3.5-ounce serving of herring, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, mussels, kidney, liver, and other meat products already provides up to 1,000 milligrams of purines.
Other foods that are triggers or causes of gout are legumes (green peas, dried peas, lentils and beans), mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, wheat bran, wheat germ, and oatmeal. Drinking beer is likewise one of the known causes of gout because beer contains yeast.
Remedies for gout today, however, have reduced the need for severe purine restriction. The limiting of certain foods and drinks may ease the severity of an attack. This assists the remedy prescribed to the patient to work more efficiently.