Gout : Diagnosis, Risk factors and diet plan

What is Gout

Gout is inflammatory arthritis that develops as a result of high uric acid levels in the body. Uric acid is a waste material resulting from the breakdown of purines. Purines are part of all human tissues and are found in many foods especially those high in protein.

If there is hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid in the blood), it means that uric acid is overly produced or not excreted in the body. This excess uric acid can accumulate, crystalize and then deposit in certain joints. It deposits most commonly in the big toe, and this can lead to an attack of inflammation.

This inflammation causes sudden, severe pain, tenderness, redness and swelling in the affected joints which can last for a few days if untreated. The higher the level of the uric acid, the greater the incidence of gout. 

Diagnosis

Gout diagnosis includes heaving an acute joint swelling, demonstration of elevated uric acid levels in the blood. And detection of uric acid crystals in affected joints through joint aspiration.

What is joint aspiration for gout

A joint aspiration is a procedure that obtains fluid from the swollen joints. This fluid is then analyse if there are any uric acid crystals. This is confirmatory for gout and can help exclude other possible causes for joint swelling, such as infection. At the same time when we remove the fluid, steroids can also be given into the joint itself to resolve the attack of swelling much more rapidly. Removal of fluid as well relieves the joint.

Risk factors

Are there any risk factors for gout? the answer is yes. These are essential risk factors or causes for elevated uric acid levels.

The first one is diet. Eating foods high in purine content such as high fructose corn syrup containing foods, meats and seafood. Alcohol can also increase uric acid levels and lead to gout. 

Gender and age are another risk factors. Men tend to have higher uric acid levels and develop gout at an earlier age than women. Women tend to develop gout after menopause, due to the protective effect of estrogen. 

Ethnicity and family history is also a risk factor. Studies have shown that hyperuricemia is highly hereditable. If family members have gout, you are more likely to develop it. 

Obesity and other medical comorbidities are risk factors. Medical conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney issues tend to accompany gout. These conditions can all increase the risk of high uric acid levels as well as tend to decrease the clearance of uric acid through the kidneys. 

A serum uric acid level above 6.8 milligrams per deciliter is also known as hyperuricemia.

How to better manage your gout

  1. Take your medications as prescribed. 
  2. Do not stop your medications without telling your doctor. 
  3. Check your uric acid levels twice a year.
  4. The goal should be a uric acid level below 6 milligrams per deciliter.
  5. Maintain healthy body weight. Someone at an ideal body weight is at lower risk of gout.
  6. Get regular exercise. Exercise 30 minutes a daily for at least 5 days of the week. You do not have to join a gym for this. good walking can do better for you. 
  7. Drink plenty of water. Water may help remove your uric acid from your bloodstream. 
  8. Stay away from drinks made from high fructose corn syrup.
  9. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. eat foods that are low in purines.

Gout attacks can come on suddenly and result in a very painful, red, swollen joint. It is important to understand what factors can put you at risk for this condition. As well as how to manage your gout attacks a little better. 

The gout diet

A gout diet is basically the same as a balanced healthy diet. If you are overweight, you increase the risk of developing gout. Losing weight will help lower your risk. 

  • Try to eat more complex carbohydrates rather than more processed foods. 
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid foods such as white bread, cake, candy, soda and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.
  • Cut back on saturated fats from red meats, fatty poultry and high-fat dairy products. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Increasing the amount of water you drink may help lower the numbers of gout attacks you have. Drink eight to 16 cups of fluid a day and half of that should be water. 
  • Eat only 4 to 6 ounces (113 to 170 grams) of lean meat, fish or poultry a day. You can get additional protein from low fat or fat-free dairy products, beans and nuts.
  • Low-fat dairy products like yoghurt and skim milk are linked to lower uric acid levels. Low-fat yoghurt can be very satisfying as a mid-afternoon snack. 
  • While some vegetables are high in purines, they do not raise the risk of gout attacks. Your diet should contain lots of fruit and vegetables. Try vegetables raw and cooked. there are a number of vegetables that make a great snack.

There are certain foods you should avoid

  • Stay away from meats such as liver and kidney. They are high in purine.
  • Stay away from oily fish such as sardines, trout, paddock, mackerel and tuna.
  • You should also avoid shellfish like mussels, shrimps, lobsters and crab. 
  • Avoid all alcohol if you have frequent gout attacks or your gout is not under control.
  • Stay away from beer. beer is known to put you at a higher risk of gout attacks.
  • Whiskey and other hard liquors may be linked to gout attacks but not as much as beer. Wine may be a better choice but you should discuss this with your doctor. 

In short, there is evidence that following a well balanced diet can decrease your risk of gout attacks. Always keep in mind that a well balanced diet does not mean that it takes the place of your medications. 1

 

 

11 habits that damage your immune system

What is immune system

The immune system is our body’s number one defence mechanism. It protects us from various types of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Our immunity and our health are directly related. The stronger the immune system, the more protection you have against colds, viruses and other illnesses that can attack your body. On the other hand, a weak immunity can make you more vulnerable to frequent colds, sinus infection and slow wound healing as well as causing anaemia, fatigue and lethargy.

it is a quite surperising fact that many common daily habits harm our immune system. In fact, most of our habits directly impact our immune system. To keep our immune system strong, it is important to adopt healthy habits and quit the bad ones. Let’s take a look at the top 11 everyday habits that directly harm our immune system.

These 11 habits are following :

1. Being a night owl

If you work late nights or like watching television or doing projects late into the night, you may have weak immunity. Poor sleep habits lower the immune system functioning and reduce the level of white blood cells that fight germs. Sleep deprivation also reduces the production of protective cytokines. While you sleep, your immune system releases different types of cytokines and help to protect your body against infections and diseases. If you are sleep deprived, their production decrease significantly.

2. Avoid skipping on sleep

Develop proper sleep hygiene. Be in the bed at a fixed time every night and try to wake up at the same time every morning. Insomnia is also a factor which affects our immune system. Be sure to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep every night.

3. Excessive sugar intake

If you often eat or drink something sweet to satisfy your craving, you can suffer from weak immunity. Refined sugar can reduce the capability of white blood cells to kill germs. Sugar actually prevents vitamin C from getting into the white blood cells resulting in weakened immunity. Interestingly the immune-suppressing effects of sugar start within 30 minutes after ingestion and may last for many hours. If you need to eat something sweet, go for fruits like oranges, apples, mangoes, watermelons and other that contain natural sugars to satisfy your cravings. Vitamin C in these fruits will also help your immune system to work in a more efficient manner.

4. Excessive alcohol consumption

The benefits that a daily glass of wine can contribute to cardiovascular health is scientifically proven. But excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can throw away all the benefits of moderate consumption. In addition, not all alcoholic beverages have the same benefits of wine. Many have a high alcohol level that our body can not metabolise which depress the ability of the immune system. Also, excessive alcohol consumption reduces the number of white blood cells, slows down digestive activity and overload liver work reducing its ability to store vitamins. All these factors contribute to the poor immunity in alcoholics.

5. Smoking

Some alcoholic beverages can be acceptable in a controlled amount. But in the case of tobacco, there is no limit allowed. Cigarettes contain more than 250 highly harmful substances. Some out of these are considered poisonous such as ammonia, arsenic, nicotine and toluene. The human body is not made to process chemicals as potent and devastating as those contained in the cigarettes. Slowly, smoking affects all systems of the human body and the immune system is no exception.

6. Consuming too much caffeine

Drinking too much coffee and other caffeinated beverages is also lower our immunity. Excessive caffeine stimulates your system by increasing the tension level of the body. A high-stress level causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol suppress our immune system and make us more prone to infections and other health problems. Elevated cortisol also linked to health issues related to the heart, blood sugar and high cholesterol. When taken in moderation, coffee provides many health benefits like increased alertness, mood and energy. So limit yourself to just one to two cups of coffee per day.

7. Eating junk food

Eating junk food in excess can be bad for your immunity. Junk food is usually high in fat and eating excess fat is the main reasons behind obesity. A diet high in saturated fats can harm the immune system even before the weight begins to show. Obesity can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply and produce antibodies. Thus making you more prone to infections. So cut down on fast food and choose a healthy diet instead.

8. Inadequate intake of water

The human body is mostly made of water. In every cell of our body, water performs numerous functions. If you don’t drink enough water to replenish what your body needs, it will surely affect your immune system. Proper hydration is essential for building stronger immunity. A healthy person should drink about eight to ten glasses of water per day. however, the amount of water you drink may depend upon the climate in which you live, how physically active you are and your overall health.

9. Sedentary lifestyle

Lack of regular physical activity is harmful in every way for the body. The sedentary lifestyle literally makes the immune system sleep. Engaging in any sport or some form of physical exercise activates it to fight viral and bacterial infections. Physical exercise decreases the possibility of suffering from chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis or heart disease. Exercise reduces stress and increases the production of antibodies and white blood cells. On the other hand, when we work out, our body temperature rises. This elevation of body temperature reduces the possibility of bacterial growth on your body. Physical activity is essential for building a stronger immunity and there is no doubt about it.

10. Excessive exercise

As we told you earlier that exercise helps to enhance our immunity. But excessive exercise lowers our immunity. Our body has a fixed limit. If we attempt to push it beyond its physical limits, it stops functioning correctly. Your immune system also stops responding efficiently and you fall prey to infections easily.

Researches show that over 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise can build you more vulnerable to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. Intense exercise seems to cause a short term decrease in immune function.

During these intense workout periods, the body produces certain hormones that temporarily lower the immunity. Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones perform numerous important functions in our body. But they also raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and also suppress the immune system.

Always make sure that you’re taking proper rest and don’t overwork yourself. The heavy long run exercise like marathon running and intense gym training has been proven to lower your immunity and reduce the ability to fight viral infections.

11. Poor social relation

Believe it or not, avoiding people or human connections may also affect your immunity. Social relationships, both the quantity and quality affect our mental state which affects our health behaviour and indirect affects our immunity also .

Those who have poor social relations usually run a minimum of twice the chance of serious illnesses and premature death compared to the people that have good social relations. If you wish to be healthier, you can’t avoid people .1Believe it or not, our body is desighned to be a part of the society. Putting time and efforts into positively interacting with others will inevitably bring you a lot health benefits.