The unfortunate victims of gouty arthritis are well aware of the fact that its symptoms are both hard to miss or ignore. The intense pain, inflammation and tenderness experienced, usually in a single, localized joint region, occur at random, with hardly any signs forewarning against an oncoming attack.
However, as a sufferer of acute gout flares or chronic gout even, one can take several measures to cope with their condition more effectively. To be able to do that, it is important to be prepared in advance, knowing full well what to expect and how to react.
Recommended Action for Immediate Relief
Some gout patients claim that they can sense a gout attack before the pain begins. An itching, tingling or burning sensation in a joint region occurs a couple of hours prior to the attack. Stiffness in the joint or mild soreness is also experienced in some cases.
For many people with gout, such telltale signs are quite absent. For them, contingency measures must be taken only once the gout flare-up begins. In either circumstance – whether forewarned or otherwise – the following self-care methodologies can be employed for relief from symptoms:
- Staying hydrated during a gout attack is of utmost importance. Lack of adequate water can make uric acid levels in the blood rise further, causing prolongation of discomfort.
- Using cold compresses on the affected area can be very helpful in relieving pain and swelling. Adding juniper oil to the compress is known to be highly beneficial, with its ability to break down toxic deposits expediting the healing process.
- Keeping the affected joint in an elevated position above chest level is also advisable.
- Consume raw cherries or pineapples or even their juices for they are known to contain nutrients that aid healing. Also, having grapes may help for their alkaline nature helps neutralize the effects of excess uric acid.
- Rest the joint area, using supports such as walking sticks or arm slings to avoid overstraining an already painful joint.
- Finally, taking the medication prescribed by the doctor, regularly and timely is of course of utmost importance.
While these are the measures to be taken for relief during an ongoing attack of gout, there are some long-term changes/habits a patient would benefit from adopting.
Recommended Action for Long-Term Relief
Long term relief from gout is partially dependent upon medication and partially upon the lifestyle choices made by its victims. There is much scope for prevention of further attacks and chronic gout if patients make a concerted effort to incorporate the following habits into their daily routine:
- The most important element of gout prevention is monitoring of diet. Foods that have high quantities of purines should be avoided for these get metabolized into uric acid. This entails staying away from red meat, offal, oily fish and foods containing yeast extract.
- High alcohol consumption, especially that of beers and spirits, has been linked to increased risk of gout. Moderate intake of wine is perhaps fine but too much of alcohol can be very dangerous for a gout patient.
- High water consumption is recommended for it helps maintain low levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
- Weight loss by means of diet control and regular exercise is advisable. Not only does this help keep uric acid levels in check but also reduces risk of heart disease, which gout makes individuals more susceptible to.
The bottom line hence is that controlling and preventing gout requires much effort and commitment. However, individuals who take recommended action are less liable to contract chronic gout and the various complications associated with the same.