Grant AME Church

Health Topic for March 2015

      Gout and Hyperuricemia Prevention

Scripture: Luke 14:2New International Version (NIV)2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body.

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Gout is a painful disease that occurs when uric acid, a normal waste product, builds up in the blood and forms crystals in the joints and/or kidneys.

Uric acid normally dissolves in the blood, processes through the kidney, and leaves the body in the urine. If the body makes extra uric acid, or if the kidneys cannot clear enough of it, then uric acid levels in the blood will become too high, a condition known as hyperuricemia (hyper-yur-i-see-me-ya).

Hyperuricemia is not a disease and may not cause problems, but if it continues for a long time and conditions in the body are right, crystals may form and cause gout. Most experts recommend that uric acid levels stay below 6.0 mg/dL in order to prevent gout attacks.

Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines, naturally-occurring chemicals that are found in both our diets and our bodies. Foods and drinks that contribute most to hyperuricemia and gout include: red meat, organ meat, seafood, beer, liquor, and sugar-sweetened items, especially with high fructose corn syrup.

What are the Risk factors of Gout?

Risk factors of Gout include the following: Obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, medications, kidney disease, exposure to lead, hypothyroidism, severe illness or stress, and extreme physical exertion.

Some people with gout do not have high uric acid levels, so it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter the level. Do not smoke, follow a well-balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise.

Gout Symptoms

Uric acid crystals deposited in the joints can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity, and impair movement. Uric acid crystals deposited in the kidneys can become large painful stones.

Prevent Gout Attacks

Focus on lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for developing gout. Follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. Limit sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, especially those that contain high fructose corn syrup. Limit alcohol, meat, and fish, especially shrimp and lobster. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (8 cups) to help reduce the risk for stone formation.