Cartilage is a type of tissue that covers the surface of a bone at a joint. Pain in this area could be due to gout – a type of inflammatory arthritis. What are the symptoms of this condition? The UK Gout Society explained: “Uric acid is the waste product created when the body breaks down purines – a type of protein found in many foods and all of your cells.” This suggests that some level of uric acid in the body is unavoidable, but it’s the excess of uric acid that leads to gout.
Excessive levels of uric acid in the blood can be attributed to numerous reasons.
For example, dietary choices have been linked to the formation of swollen, painful joints.
“Your diet plays an important role in both causing gout and reducing the likelihood of suffering further painful attacks of gout,” said the charity.
It’s advised that people with gout should avoid high purine foods, such as:
- Liver, kidneys, heart and sweetbreads
- Pheasant, rabbit, venison
- Anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, sprats, whitebait, trout
- Mussels, crab, shrimp, fish roe, caviar
Meat and yeast extracts
- Marmite, Bovril, commercial gravy, beer
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There are “moderate purine foods”, which can be enjoyed in moderation, such as:
- Chicken, duck, beef, lamb, chicken, pork
- Baked beans, kidney beans, soya beans and peas
- Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach
- Bran, oat bran, wholemeal bread
Foods low in purine include:
- Pasta and noodles
- Most vegetables
“If you already suffer from gout, eating a diet that is rich in purines can
result in a five-fold increase in gout attacks,” said the charity.
How to minimise the risk of gout
The UK Gout Society reference studies that have shown a high vitamin C intake can reduce the likelihood of developing gout.
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Furthermore, sour cherries have been shown to reduce blood uric acid levels and can help to ease inflammation in the body.
Drinking alcohol can also increase a person’s risk of developing painful gout attacks.
Alcohol is converted into lactic acid, which interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body.
Gout is associated with many other health conditions, such as raised cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor glucose tolerance.
Approximately half of all gout sufferers are overweight, so maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of developing the condition.
It’s best to lose weight (if needs be) in a healthy manner, by losing no more than two pounds per week.
“Going without food for long periods of time and rapid loss of weight can increase uric avid levels,” warned the charity.
There are other possible reasons as to why there would be high uric acid levels in the body.
For example, the kidneys may be struggling to remove enough uric acid from the body.
Another reason could be due to a rare genetic abnormality that could lead to the condition developing.
Treatment for gout involves pain relief medication, such as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).