4 Lifestyle Habits for Preventing Gout Flare-ups

4 Lifestyle Habits for Preventing Gout Flare-ups

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs because uric acid crystals gather in and around joints. It affects more than 9 million people throughout the United States, and if you’ve ever had a painful flare-up, it’s understandable that you want to do everything you can to prevent future flares.

Our providers at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, are experts in helping patients manage and prevent gout flare-ups. Lifestyle changes alone may be enough to prevent gout flares if you have a mild case. However, most people need to combine lifestyle changes with medication to keep gout in check.

In this blog, we discuss some of the changes you can make right now to reduce your risk of suffering a gout attack.

1. Lose weight

If you’re overweight, you aren’t alone. More than 70% of people in the United States are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, being overweight can make your kidneys work harder to clear uric acid. Overweight individuals have an 85% higher risk of having excess uric acid (hyperuricemia) than individuals who have a normal weight.

In addition, researchers calculate that 44% of hyperuricemia cases are solely linked to obesity. Making weight loss a priority is one of the best things you can do to lower your risk for recurrent gout flares. 

2. Eat a diet low in purines

Purines are substances that break down into uric acid. A purine-rich diet may contribute to higher uric acid levels and hike your risk for gout attacks. Swapping out purine-rich foods is a good place to start.

The foods and beverages highest in purines are:

Certain seafood, including shrimp, crab, anchovies, herring, and sardines, are also high in purines. Sugary drinks are also a major problem for people with gout, because fructose breaks down into uric acid.

3. Manage your blood pressure

People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop gout. Over time, high blood pressure weakens, narrows, and hardens arteries that carry blood throughout the body, including the arteries in the kidneys. This makes it more challenging for the kidneys to eliminate toxins, such as uric acid. 

In addition, diuretics commonly used to treat hypertension can aggravate gout by decreasing the amount of urate (a component of uric acid) excreted in the urine. Keep this in mind if you’re taking medication to control high blood pressure. Discuss your medical history with your primary care provider, and find out which medication is most suitable for your situation. 

4. Drink more water

Water dilutes uric acid in the blood, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is an easy and practical lifestyle change to adopt to better manage your gout and keep flares at bay. If you’re someone who tends to drink sugary beverages, swapping out those drinks with water and sugar-free beverages may make a big difference.

To get more recommendations on managing gout, or to get treatment, call 562-294-6533 to book an appointment with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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