Gout Prevention

Preventing and Managing Gout

What is gout ?

What is GoutGout is a very painful type of arthritis. Everyone has something called uric acid in their body. If you get too much uric acid in your body you can get gout.  The extra uric acid turns into very small sharp needles in your joints. The most common place you can get gout is in your toes.

The pain in your joint might go away but the problem of having too much uric acid will not.

There are pills that can bring your uric acid down.  If you do not take the pills and your uric acid stays too high, you could keep on having gout attacks and damage the joints in your body.

What causes gout and how can I stop having gout attacks?

Pacific and Maori people get gout more than other people, often because gout is passed down in families.  Some foods such as seafood, soft drinks, meat, chicken and beer make you have more uric acid than other foods such as vegetables.

Older people get gout more because their bodies can’t get rid of the uric acid as well. Some pills, such as diuretics (water pills) also cause gout .You can stop gout by taking pills every day to keep your uric acid down. These pills are called allopurinol. Other pills called colchicine and prednisone treat the pain, swelling, and inflammation you have from the gout.

For some people it is helpful to eat less of the foods that make more uric acid in your body such as seafood, meat and chicken. Drinking less beer, fruit juice and soft drinks can also help to prevent gout attacks. Try to drink 6-8 cups of water or other drinks without sugar and to do more exercise.

Why do I need to take allopurinol every day?

If you stop taking the allopurinol pills your gout will almost always come back causing you more pain, time off work and stop you from doing things with your family.  You could also damage your joints and get a swelling called a tophus as well as damage your kidneys.

How often do I need to see my doctor?

A tophus looks like this

You must continue taking allopurinol daily as prescribed by your doctor. You will have to visit your doctor every few months to make sure you do not run out of pills. Your uric acid has to get down to below 0.36 to lower the risk of having gout attacks.

Many people with gout also have other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight problems so you need to have a heart health check. If you have no other health problems you may only need to see your doctor once per year. But you still need to get your allopurinol prescription every three months.