If you are a victim of gout, you must be knowing the unfortunate and painful signs and outcomes of a gout flare up. Nothing can be done about a gout attack once it has started, but there sure are ways it can be taken care of if it takes place at home.
A gout attack occurs when a person who has high levels of uric acid in the body, has a build up or concentration of the uric crystals around a particular joint. These uric crystals form and cause a painful gout flare. Alcohol, stress, some foods and also few medications can cause a rise in the already high uric acid level, leaving you vulnerable to a gout flare.
WARNING SIGNS OF A GOUT FLARE UP.
Some victims of gout, also known as gouty arthritis say that a tingling, itching or burning feeling is felt an hour or two before the gout flare up starts. The joint may feel stiff or a little sore before the flare up. Soon after these warnings, the gout attack becomes eminent. If you get gout attacks regularly, you will quite well learn the signs your body gives before a gout attack.
There are also cases in which people with gout problems receive no warning signs from their body before a gout flare up. They may find themselves waking up with a severe joint pain in the middle of the night.
During a gout attack, majority of the people experience redness, swelling and severe pain usually only in one joint. The most common place of a gout flare up is the big toe. However, it is also seen in the elbow, ankle, instep, knee and wrist.
The pain is often so strong that even the mere touch of the bedsheet at the inflamed joint is overwhelming.
HOME CARE FOR A GOUT FLARE UP (CONTINUED).
Your doctor may ask you to take non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Sulindac (Clinoril)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
- Indomethacin (Indocin)
- Melaxicam (Mobic)
- Celexocib (Celebrex)
There are cases when you are already taking medication to avoid a gout flare up. The doctors usually prescribe the following in such cases.
- Clochicine (Colcrys)
- Febuxostat (Uloric)
- Probenecid (Benemid)
- Allopurinol (Zyloprim, Lopurin)
You are very likely to have a flare even after taking these medicines. However, that doesn't mean the medications are not working. As your body starts adjusting to the new medicines, a gout flare up is quite normal. Either way continue taking the medicines. Both prescribed for the flare ups and the prevention.
If you experience gout flare ups even after consuming preventive medicines, talk to your doctor. Your dosage of medicine may have to be changed.
NON MEDICATION PAIN RELIEF.
Medication is always effective, but these simple tips can prove helpful as well.
- USE COLD – Unless the pain is very bad, you can ice the joint for 20-30 minutes several times a day. This will help lessen the inflammation of the joint.
- REST THE JOINT – Resting until the pain reduces is not a bad idea. Most people having an acute joint ache due to the flare up won't be able to move the joint much anyway. Resting the joint on a pillow or any soft object may prove helpful.
- DRINK WATER – If the body is even slightly devoid of water, it can cause the uric acid levels to be raised higher than they already are. Keeping the body hydrated, will help in bringing down the levels to normal.
- WATCH WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK – Avoid foods high in purines as they raise the uric acid levels in your body. Fructose-sweetened drinks and alcohol, especially beer is just as harmful.
WHEN TO GET HELP FOR A GOUT FLARE.
It's never a bad idea to let your doctor know about your flare. Sometimes if your treatment plan proves ineffective, you may need to follow up. Give your doctor a call if :
Gout Attacks At Home
- IF IT IS YOUR FIRST GOUT ATTACK – Several other cases like joint infections have more or less the same symptoms as that of a gout flare.
- YOU HAVE HIGH FEVER AND CHILLS – Gout symptoms include low grade fever, but high fever may point towards an infection.
- YOUR SYMPTOMS DONT IMPROVE AFTER 48 HOURS AND DONT END AFTER A WEEK – Most gout attacks resolve themselves after 7 to 10 days without gout treatment. If you don't notice any improvement after a few days give your health care provider a ring.
GOUT DIET DETAILS.
A gout diet restricts consuming foods high in purines like animal products. This helps control the production of uric acid in the body. Beer has been found to have a strong link with gout attacks; thus, alcohol especially beer is advised to be avoided. If you're overweight or obese, try losing weight. However, try not losing too much weight and avoid fasting as that may result in a gout flare up. Avoid foods which are high in protein and weight-loss diets. Drink plenty of fluids to help flush uric acid from the body.
TO FOLLOW THE DIET :
A SAMPLE MENU.
- LIMIT MEAT, POULTRY AND FISH – Animal proteins have very high purines, so they should be avoided. Organ meat, herring, anchovies and mackerel should severely be limited. Red meat, fatty fish and seafood are strongly linked with gout. Since, all meat, poultry and fish have high purine levels, the intake should be brought down to 4 to 6 ounces daily.
- CUT BACK ON FAT – The body's ability to remove uric acid is lowered by saturated fats. Turning to a plant-based diet and consuming fat-free or low-fat dairy products will help your body eliminate the uric acid more effectively by cutting down the saturated fat in your body. Having meals with high fat, can contribute to obesity which is linked to gout.
- LIMIT OR AVOID ALCOHOL – Alcohol acts as a barrier when removing uric acid from the body. Beer is absolutely a no no. During a gout attack, all and any alcohol should be avoided. However, when you're not under attack, about 5 ounces of wine a day is very unlikely to increase your risk.
- LIMIT OR AVOID FOODS SWEETENED WITH HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP – The only carbohydrate known to increase gout is fructose. Keep away from high-fructoses beverages, like soft drinks and juice drinks. Nevertheless,100% fruit juices do not seem to stimulate uric acid too much.
- CHOOSE COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES – Make your diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed and refined carbs like candy, cakes and bread.
- CHOOSE LOW FAT OR FAT FREE DAIRY PRODUCTS – Research concludes that low fat dairy products can decrease gout risks to a great extent.
- DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS, PARTICULARLY WATER – Fluids can help remove the uric acid crystals from your body. It is helpful to drink 8 to 16 glasses of water per day. 1 glass = 8 ounces. In some cases, 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day has proven very helpful to men with uric acid.
Here's to help you with what should be eaten on a typical gout flare up day.
- 100% fruit juice
- Whole grain, unsweetened cereals with skim milk and fresh fruit toppings.
- Whole wheat toast (with trans-free margarine)
- Lean meat, poultry or fish sandwich. -- Whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato and spread with low fat.
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Side salad or vegetable soup
- Fresh fruits ( apple,orange, pear)
- Skim milk
- Baked or roast chicken
- Vegetables (steamed)
- Baked potatoes with low fat sour cream
- Green salad with tomatoes
- Fresh fruits ( berries, melons)
- Non alcoholic beverage ( water, tea)
Snacks can be added to this menu if your choices are healthy ( fruits, veggies, whole grains) and if you are at a healthy weight, meaning you maintaining a healthy calorie level.