You might be wondering why specialists in foot health are concerned with uric acid, but if you’ve ever had a gout flare-up, you understand its significance. If you want to avoid this incredibly painful form of arthritis, it pays to understand the role that uric acid plays in your body; especially considering that the incidence of gout in the United States is on the rise.
To help you better understand the connection between gout and uric acid, the podiatry team here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle presents the following information.
Uric acid and your body
When your body encounters high levels of purines (more on this in a moment), it produces uric acid to help break down these chemicals. Uric acid is essentially a waste product found in your blood, and under normal circumstances, the acid dissolves. Any uric acid that’s leftover passes through your kidneys, and you then expel it through your urine.
If the levels of purines in your blood are too high, your body produces more uric acid than it’s capable of processing, causing the acid to build up in your system. Also called hyperuricemia, this condition can lead to the formation of crystals or urate, which can make their way into your joints, where they can cause considerable pain.
At that point, you experience a flare-up of gout, which typically attacks the joint in your big toe, though it can affect other joints in your ankles or knees.
Hyperuricemia can also lead to a build-up of crystals in your kidneys, where they can form kidney stones.
If you have a history of gout, one of our first lines of defense is to put you on a low-purine diet. The most common types of food and drinks that contain moderate-to-high purine levels include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Red meat
- Game meat (venison, duck, and turkey)
- Organ meat (liver and kidneys)
- Anchovies and sardines
- Shellfish, including mussels, scallops, oysters, lobster, and shrimp
- Trout and haddock
While avoiding these foods and drinks can go a long way toward reducing the levels of uric acid in your body, diet alone may not be enough to control gout.
If you still experience gout flare-ups despite limiting your diet, we prescribe medications that can control the inflammation and help your body break down uric acid properly.
As well, certain lifestyle changes can make a difference in controlling the levels of uric acid in your system, such as losing weight.
Whether you’re struggling with gout or you’d like to avoid the issue altogether by controlling uric acid levels, contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up a consultation.
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