It’s been called the most painful form of arthritis.
“Gout is a condition that causes extreme pain, swelling and redness in joints. The classic scenario is the joint at the base of the big toe,” says Dr. Gary Goforth, director of the FSU family residency program at Lee Memorial Health System.
Gout is an inflammatory condition caused by increased uric acid levels in the blood. When uric acid builds up in joint fluid, crystals form causing the pain and swelling. It’s thought to be fueled in part, by unhealthy habits.
“It’s a condition it’s been around for ages and ages. We typically think of it as a disease caused by poor eating habits, heavy alcohol use,” says Dr. Goforth.
It’s not just excessive alcohol use- obesity, diuretics, hypertension, diets with large amounts of meat & seafood and non-diet sodas also increase risk. But when it comes to diet there is an interesting find.
“People that eat high amounts of low fat dairy products and drink coffee have lower rates of gout. We’re not sure why coffee does that. It’s not caffeine because people that drink tea do not have a reduced risk of gout,” says Dr. Goforth.
Attacks can be frequent or few and far between. Either way, there is some relief. Including medications to treat acute attacks and drugs to prevent uric acid crystals from forming.
“We cannot use the medicines to lower the uric acid crystals during an attack, you can actually make it worse then. But we use that between gouty attacks to prevent the next attack,” says Dr. Goforth.
Doctors say a healthier diet with more grains, low fat. Dairy and even coffee, may decrease outbreaks altogether
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.