Gout is a type of arthritis. But unlike other joint conditions that develop from cartilage degeneration, painful gout attacks happen when high levels of uric acid course through your body.
Your body makes uric acid when it digests purines, colorless crystalline compounds that come from specific foods like sardines and red meat. High levels of uric acid build up in your system and can form sharp crystals in joints or surrounding tissue, causing gout symptoms, which include sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints.
Nearly half of gout cases affect the big toe. However, you can also experience gout pain in your wrists, fingers, heels, and knees.
At Bay Area Foot Care in San Rafael and San Francisco, California, we specialize in treating bone and soft tissue problems in the feet and ankles, including gout. We can help you change your diet to lessen the frequency and severity of your gout pain.
Here’s how uric acid levels rise
Uric acid levels can rise for two reasons: you produce too much, or your kidneys remove too little. Risk factors for having high levels of uric acid include:
- Heart and kidney disease
- Medications like diuretics and low-dose aspirin
- Being male between 30-50 years of age
- A family history of gout
- Trauma or surgery
Since uric acid is a byproduct of purine, your diet also plays a big role in your risk for developing gout.
How food affects gout attacks
One-third of the uric acid your body produces comes from purine-heavy foods, which increase the uric acid in your system.
Foods high in purine include:
- Some seafood, like shellfish, sardines, and tuna
- Red meat, including pork, lamb, and beef
- Beer and distilled liquors
- Organ and glandular meats, such as liver and kidney
- Sugary foods and sweetened beverages
Without treatment, gout can cause joint erosion and deterioration.
Here’s how to eat when you have gout
The medical professionals at Bay Area Foot Care can devise a custom strategy to help you make the following dietary changes:
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Eat more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
- Reduce saturated fats like red meat, high-fat dairy products, and fatty poultry
- Consume healthy proteins like lean meats, lentils, and low-fat dairy
We’ll also help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, which can help lower uric acid levels and gout attacks.
If you suffer from gout, Bay Area Foot Care can help you manage your symptoms. Contact our office by calling 415-343-9911, or by using our online booking tool.