According to a recent article published in body and soul it is reported that the arthritic condition gout now affects over 70, 000 Australians each year. Recent research suggests that gout affects 16.5% of elderly Australian men which is the second highest reported rate in the world.
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis which most commonly affects the big toe joint in the feet causing pain and swelling. It can also affect the knees and ankles and some other smaller joints in the body. Although gout is more prevalent in older men and post menopausal women it can affect people of all ages.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by a build up of uric acid in the blood stream which causes inflammation and swelling. Gout can also be hereditary and the body can also retain too much uric acid as a result of poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, or from the use of diuretics (fluid tablets).
Reduce your risk
Gout can be diagnosed through a blood test and controlled with medication. Adjunct therapy involves pain relief, ice and addressing associated lifestyle factors. Uric acid levels in the blood are higher in those who are overweight, have diabetes, heart disease, or have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. In order to reduce your risk it is important to “maintain your weight within the healthy range and reduce your blood pressure” as reported by Kate Di Prima, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia. It is also important to stay hydrated and reduce or eliminate alcohol intake.