Arthritis comes in many forms, but the one that most commonly affects Britons is gout. As the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) explain, gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is “very painful.” It usually affects one joint at a time (often the big toe joint), notes the CDC. It may come as a surprise to learn that certain types of fish can trigger gout symptoms.
This effect is due to the purine content found in fish. The Arthritis Foundation (AF) explains, “Purine compounds, whether produced in the body or by eating purine-rich foods, can increase uric acid levels.
“Excess uric acid can produce uric acid crystals, which then accumulate in soft tissues and joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout.”
Given the risks posed by purine-rich foods, gout sufferers should “strive to limit them,” says the AF.
Purine-rich fish include anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, cod, scallops, trout and haddock, the health body adds.
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Foods to Relieve Gout
According to the NHS, a healthy, balanced diet can help ward off the painful symptoms of gout.
“Your doctor can give you a list of foods to include or limit,” notes the health body.
In general, a healthy, balanced diet means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
“Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, fatty fish or fibre,” warns the NHS.
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How is gout treated?
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies.
“Treatment for flare-ups is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory colchicine,” the CDC explains.
According to the health organization, making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting your alcohol intake, eating fewer purine-rich foods (like red meat or organ meats), can help prevent future attacks.
“Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricaemia (such as diuretics) may also help.”
If you have frequent attacks or high levels of uric acid in your blood, you may need to take medicine to lower uric acid, the NHS adds.
According to the health body, it’s important to take uric acid-lowering medication regularly, even when you no longer have symptoms.
He says to:
- Take any medicine you have been prescribed as soon as possible – it should start working within two days
- Rest and Raise Limb
- Keep the joint cool – apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, for up to 20 minutes at a time
- Drink plenty of water (unless a GP tells you not to)
- Try to keep the sheets off the affected joint at night.
Do not put pressure on the affected joint, the NHS adds.