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Gout

Gout

Gout is a condition that responds very well when supported by Herbal Medicine; gout sufferers who come to us for support often report relief of symptoms and reduction in attacks (please see our testimonials).

Experiencing these symptoms?

  • Tiredness
  • Mild fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Tenderness of the joints
  • Joints feeling hot
  • Redness of the skin
  • Skin may appear shiny
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What is Gout?

Gout is considered to be a disorder of the metabolism that allows uric acid to accumulate in blood and tissues, causing a type of arthritis that involves debilitating pain, swelling and inflammation of the joints. Nearly half of gout cases affect the big toes, whilst others affect joints, such as elbows, fingers, knees and heels (Rothschild, 2017, p. https://emedicine.medscape.com)

Gout sufferers experience recurrent episodes of joint inflammation and pain that can range from mild to extremely severe, sometimes requiring hospitalisation.  If left untreated, gout can lead to joint destruction and/or kidney damage from high uric acid levels. (Porth, 2011)

Uric acid is a waste product made by the body and is removed primarily by kidney excretion, as it has no purpose.  If uric acid levels rise above the safe limit and the body is unable to remove it efficiently, tissues become saturated with uric acid,  allowing needle like crystals to form that deposit in soft tissue and joints, where they are less soluble under acid conditions and at low temperatures (the reason why gout often starts in the big toe).

The uric acid crystals are interpreted as a foreign body, so the body’s natural defence is to launch an inflammatory response. This process causes a vicious and very painful “gout” cycle. (Cheprasov, 2013, sec. http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-gout-causes-symptoms-treatment.html)

Most people who have gout experience these symptoms either because they make too much uric acid or because their bodies can’t remove the excess uric acid efficiently. This could be due to diet, genetics – even stress.

This does not mean that you can “get” gout by eating certain foods, or necessarily inherit gout; your body would need to have the potential to respond to certain triggers.

If gout runs in your family, then it is possible that you inherit the potential to develop gout under certain conditions – so if we can help you to identify this and you take care with your lifestyle choices, you may well find that you never have an attack of gout; even if you have a familial predisposition to it. (Doherty, 2009)

Foods that commonly trigger gout attacks contain a substance called Purines – which increase uric acid levels. Purines are found in many foods, such as organ meats, red meats, seafood,  and beer. (Choi et al., 2004)

One exception to this rule are high-purine vegetables, which, according to research, do not trigger gout attacks

Fructose and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of gout, even though they’re not purine-rich, but may raise uric acid levels by accelerating several cellular processes.  (Choi et al., 2004)

Certain metabolic states can also cause changes in uric acid levels, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity; as can certain medications that raise uric acid levels; usually via effects on renal tubular transport (Porth 2011 P.1151). 

The website www.goutdiet.org offers information regarding medications that can raise uric acid levels, which include certain diuretics, aspirin and ACE inhibitors used for high blood pressure, such as Ramipril

(www.goutdiet.org 2015 https://www.goutdiet.org/causes-of-gout.php)

None of this means that you should not take medication given to you by your doctor.  Indeed, a visit to your GP is necessary to correctly diagnose gout by measuring uric acid levels and to ensure that any other medication you have been prescribed is appropriate.

Some patients report gout attacks during times of high stress.  Stress has a terrible effect on the body and can play a part in inducing gout attacks as it can negatively affect the body’s normal functions, including the digestive and waste systems. Stress may also deplete vitamin B5 from the body, which helps the body to excrete excess uric acid from the body.

So, you can see that it is quite possible that if a person is stressed, overweight, has high blood pressure and takes certain medications – regardless of diet, they are at risk of gout – even if they are teetotal vegetarians!

How can we help?

Herbal Medicine is very helpful in supporting gout symptoms and also for managing side effects of orthodox medication.

A targeted consultation may be useful if you are experiencing the symptoms of gout as Herbal Medicine is effective in helping to relieve the pain of gout by safely reducing uric acid levels.

Long term support is necessary to help prevent further attacks and once the gout attack has subsided, we would recommend a full consultation.

Iridology can help identify your gout potential and Live Blood Analysis will allow you to see inflammation and white blood cells that may be present.

A thorough consultation, perhaps with nutritional will also enable us to look at underlying causes and develop a treatment plan that will minimise painful attacks by addressing the root of the problem.

References

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