Gout is caused by a build up of uric acid in the fluids of the body. When the uric acid forms crystals and the crystals deposit in joints such as the big toe, tendons, or other tissues, they cause pain, inflammation, and eventually damage. Most gout victims are male but women are not immune to the condition. People that are overweight are also more likely to suffer an attack than those of a healthy weight level.
Gout may be stimulated or preceded by a bumped toe, surgery, too much alcohol, overeating or fasting, or medications such as penicillin, insulin, or certain diuretics. An attack of gout often presents in the big toe and the afflicted joint is usually red, swollen, and tender, and if the attack continues, a person can develop fever and chills.
Gout and the Diet
It is important to reduce the amount of uric acid-rich foods, or purine-rich foods in your diet. These foods increase the amounts of uric acid in your blood and can therefore trigger an attack. Foods that are rich in uric acid include anchovies, shellfish, smoked meat, meat extract, sardines, mackerel, yeast, asparagus, mushrooms, and dried peas. When eliminating these foods from your diets, eating more fruits and vegetables will reduce the acidity of your urine and decrease the likelihood of uric acid buildup. Eating dairy products can help to lower uric acid levels in the body.
Cherries are popular for gout, and are usually eaten whole or blended and diluted with water to make a juice. Cherry extract may also be available at health food stores. Blueberries are also a good option. Eating cherries and blueberries can help reduce uric acid levels as they are rich in substances that counteract purines, which convert to uric acid.
Gout and Alcohol
For people that suffer from gout, it is vital to eliminate alcohol. Alcohol increases the production of uric acid and reduces its excretion – the two worst things that can happen to people that suffer from gout. In some cases, eliminating alcohol can actually stop gout from recurring.
Gout and Aromatherapy
To ease the pain, a massage oil made with a carrier oil and five drops of juniper oil, which is then massaged into the joint several times a day may help. To soothe pain in the feet, try a footbath that has had juniper and rosemary oils added.
Gout and Homoeopathy
If you have red, hot, and swollen joints that are worse upon moving or touch, try Belladonna 12C every couple of hours. Aconite 12C may be helpful if you have an acutely painful, red joint. It should be taken every few hours. Colchicum 12C, taken every few hours, may be helpful if the swelling is in your big toe, which is red and tender, and you’re also feeling irritated and weak. For burning, itching, and swelling, try urtica urens 12C every few hours.