Gout flares can be unexpected and intense. The treatment options and medications to be used for managing the symptoms can be overwhelming at times to some patients and caregivers. Let us take a look at some of the common factors to keep in mind when it comes to gout management.
Deciding The Treatment
When a person is suffering from acute gout attacks, the focus of treatment should be on suppressing the inflammation and effectively controlling the pain. Some gout patients may be undergoing uric acid lowering therapy at the time of a new attack. If that is the case, it is advised to continue the therapy. In patients not undergoing uric acid lowering therapy at the time of an acute gout attack, it should not be newly initiated as part of the treatment. Whenever started in a patient, a uric acid lowering treatment always comes with the risk of a gout flare. An anticipatory treatment plan should be devised and kept ready to be executed in the incidence of such an attack.
Pain and inflammation in gout patients can be treated with corticosteroids, NSAIDs or colchicine. The factors that influence gout medication and treatment options are other medications taken by the patient, their side effect profile and co-morbidities.
Diet And Lifestyle Modifications
Lifestyle changes play a key role in gout therapy. Reducing alcohol consumption, decreasing the intake of foods rich in purine and achieving weight loss are a few of the most necessary steps in ensuring the betterment of health in gout patients. Care should also be taken in managing co-morbid medical conditions like diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Obesity as well as increased fat distribution in the body can increase the chances of recurrent gout flares.
Mussels, herring, yeast, hearts, sardines, smelts and sweetbreads are foods with high purine content. Such foods are better avoided by gout patients. Limiting the intake of foods like mutton, anchovies, haddock, pheasant, turkey, salmon, kidneys, veal, liver, bacon and scallops, which contain moderately high amounts of purine, is also recommended. These measures can help lower the level of uric acid in the body. This in turn would help prevent fluctuations in serum uric acid, responsible for the onset of acute gout attacks.
Necessary lifestyle changes, in combination with a healthy and balanced diet rich in low-fat proteins, vegetables and low-fat dairy, can help with maintaining the overall health of gout patients. The resultant weight loss and other health benefits can effectively prevent future gout attacks.