Gout is one of the most painful medical conditions, and 5.1 million people are affected by it. Gout has plagued mankind for thousands of years, but we are now beginning to understand its causes and find methods to treat it. Gout is primarily caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood.
There are two main sources of uric acid:
- Purines: Purines are chemicals that are found in our cells and in many foods we eat. One of the products of the body breaking down purines is uric acid.
- The kidneys produce a certain amount of uric acid.
Normally, the kidneys filter uric acid out of the blood and excrete it into the urine. However, if the kidneys do not filter out enough uric acid, it will build up in the blood. This buildup causes a condition known as hyperuricemia.
What are some causes of hyperuricemia?
- Kidney problems: If the kidneys do not filter the blood properly, they will not remove enough uric acid. Kidney damage or kidney failure can adversely affect the kidneys" ability to filter the blood. The kidneys may also produce too much or not enough uric acid, causing an imbalance leading to hyperuricemia.
- Eating the wrong foods: There are certain foods that have high amounts of purines. When the body breaks down these purines, uric acid is a resulting product.
- Foods high in purines include: Red meat, especially organ meats, Mushrooms, Asparagus, Anchovies, Herring, Some types of shellfish
- There are other things that should be avoided, as well: Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar, Refined foods
How does hyperuricemia cause gout?
In some people with hyperuricemia, uric acid crystallizes. These crystals can deposit in the connective tissue and the fluid within the joints. These crystals can cause:
- Heat, redness, swelling, and extreme pain in the joint, usually the big toe
- Damage to surrounding tissue
- Joint destruction
- Nerve compression disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic and persistent pain
This condition is commonly known as gout, which is classified as a type of arthritis.
In order to alleviate gout, the levels of uric acid in the blood must be decreased. A change in diet can help limit uric acid levels. Your health practitioner might also want to prescribe drugs that treat gout, although these can have harmful side effects. If you would like to try a more natural approach to improving your health, there are many options available. Results vary from person to person, but some common things that have been found to reduce gout symptoms naturally without side effects are:
- Cherries and cherry juice
- Green tea
- Vitamins C and E
- Celery seeds
There are also many natural herbal remedies that can help alleviate gout symptoms.
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