If you’ve been eating a lot of fatty holiday meals containing red meats, poultry or shellfish and drinking beer or alcoholic beverages, all of this overindulgence may lead to an episode of gout and a not-so-merry holiday season.
Gout is a type of arthritis that’s caused by high levels of uric acid. Foods like red meats, poultry, shellfish and alcoholic beverages contain purine. When purine is metabolized, it releases uric acid crystals. If these crystals cannot be excreted efficiently through your kidneys, they can deposit in your joints, leading to inflammation and severe pain.
A large, painful, swollen big toe is a common sign of gout. But gout can also affect ankles, knees, wrists and fingers. While it usually only affects one joint, it can attack multiple joints.
Typically, symptoms of gout come on suddenly, causing severe pain, swelling, redness, warmth and sensitivity to the touch. Eventually after a day or two, symptoms will start to go away. But if the crystals stay in your joint, over time, your entire joint may deteriorate.
Some tips to help you avoid an attack of gout include:
- Avoid or limit consumption of foods and beverages that can bring on an attack, such as red, processed or organ meats; poultry; seafood; foods containing high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar; fatty foods; and alcohol.
- Eat more vegetables, beans, legumes and complex carbohydrates.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight.
- Drinks lots of water to flush uric acid crystals through your kidneys and from your body.
By following these suggestions, you’ll hopefully keep gout pain away, so you can enjoy this holiday season.
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Note: If you follow these guidelines and your pain persists, you may have a more serious condition. See your physician for a more complete diagnosis and treatment.