With a healthy, low-purine diet, the outlook for someone with gout is positive. A diet that helps reduce the levels of uric acid in the body is essential and can prevent any damage caused to the joints.
Other lifestyle changes that may help in the management of gout are:
- Maintaining a healthy weight. If necessary, losing weight can lower the risk of developing further gout attacks. It will also reduce the chances of developing heart problems.
- Exercising. As well as the obvious benefits, engaging in physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight
Attacks of gout are most painful during the first 24 hours. Gout generally affects the big toe, and even the weight of a blanket can feel unbearable. If it is left untreated, gout can spread to other joints in the body, in both the upper and lower limbs.
Other treatments for gout include the following:
- Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), colchicine, and steroid medication to give immediate relief to the symptoms during an attack
- Certain medications such as allopurinol to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by an excess of a waste product called uric acid in the blood. When there is too much uric acid, crystals can form in the joints, causing severe pain, tenderness, redness, and inflammation.
Gout most commonly affects men. However, it can also affect women who have been through menopause. A gout episode or "attack" can come on suddenly, especially at night. Attacks can last for anything from a day to 10 days.