Obesity, Blamed for Increase in Gout Patients

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Arthritis is known as one of the most common diseases of the elderly. It is characterized by an inflammation of the joints, especially the weight bearing ones and severe pain during exertion. However, unknown to many, there are actually three general classifications of arthritis—osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis. Among all these types of arthritis, it is safe to say that gouty arthritis is the most excruciating and painful of all. Sadly, government surveys and studies show that a growing number of Americans are being diagnosed with gout. Statistics in 1988 and 1994 showed that only one percent of the adult population have gout, but the trend shot up last 2008 when the rate increased to 4% or a staggering 8.3 million people.

According to Dr. Choi of the Boston University School of Medicine, the increase of the statistics is due to obesity and high blood pressure. He mentioned that this increase is not surprising considering a relative increase with the risk factors associated with gout.

Gout is a painful form of arthritis and is attributed to the body’s inability to metabolize purine. In effect, the blood stream becomes concentrated with uric acid. Uric acid tends to form clumps and crystallize. When these uric acid crystals become deposited in the joints, the signs and symptoms of gout starts to appear. The most common manifestation of gout is the swelling, redness and tenderness of the big toe, feet, ankles, hands and wrists.

In most cases, gout is triggered by food intake like high consumption of organ meats, anchovies, mackerel, and other seafood. Other factors that lead to production of uric acid and slow elimination of it include diabetes, high blood pressure, taking certain medications, etc.

Choi emphasized the epidemic of obesity being the main prevailing factor of the disease. He also underscored the importance of lifestyle changes that Americans need to take in order to prevent the increasing trend in gout. He further mentioned that these lifestyle measures will not only prevent gout, but other heart diseases, as well.

Meanwhile, here are some points to remember to prevent the occurrence of gout:

-          Avoid drinking beer or limit your daily consumption of alcohol.

-          Drink plenty of water. An important thing to consider in gout is elimination. Uric acid is best eliminated through the urine. As such, keeping yourself hydrated will promote dilution of uric acid levels in your blood and promote dieresis.

-          Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These food products have the lowest amount of purine. Fruits and vegetable also contain much water so it adds up to your hydration status. Avoid organ meats, and red meats as much as possible.

-          Lastly, manage your weight. As emphasized in the foregoing study, weight is essential in preventing gout and other related conditions. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. You need not lift weights or do strenuous routines. Simple brisk walking will do as long as you perform a physical activity.




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