Other Health Problems

Gout sufferers usually experience pain in the joints. More often than not the great toe is affected in the first attack, but the pain also turns up in other joints such as ankles and knees, and fingers, wrists, elbows, and hands.

But for many gout sufferers there are possibly further health concerns which need to be considered. Some of these might be weight issues, cardiac health, and may possibly even include mental health.

There are a couple of reasons that sufferers might also need to look at their overall health.

1) Body weight is highly correlated with gout

People who eat foods rich in purine are more likely to eat other unhealthy foods that contribute to excessive weight gain.
by snowpea&bokchoi under CC BY
People who eat foods rich in purine are more likely to eat other unhealthy foods that contribute to excessive weight gain.

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It has long been known that people with a high body weight are more likely to have high urate levels, and it has even been stated by some authorities that weight is the single biggest predictor of uric acid levels in the body.

Put simply this means that the more extra weight you are carrying, the higher your acid levels will likely be, and hence the higher your chance of suffering from attacks.

Certain foods, particularly those which are high in purines, are often blamed for gout. But in reality, the chances are that a sufferer who is eating a lot of these purine-rich foods is also likely to be eating other less-than-healthy foods as well.

The high purine foods may be playing a part in the development of this condition, but these other issues such as being overweight are also playing their part too.

2) Having gout reduces the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle

While attacks usually start out intermittently, affecting only one or two joints and subsiding quickly, this is not the only way this condition presents. For chronic sufferers, it can become as much a part of your daily life as breathing itself.

If a sufferer has progressed from occasional to recurrent or chronic gout, the problems caused by stiffness and pain in the joints will intensify. This pain does not just come and go, but rather it persists for extended periods of time.

If gout sufferers are getting pain in the lower limb joints (toes, ankles, knees and the hips) then their ability to move around is restricted. The pain is so significant that something as simple as walking, or playing with your children, becomes a major effort.

So although someone with this disease will no doubt be wanting to improve their overall health, it might not be possible to do that given their ability to exercise is severely diminished.

Some sufferers find themselves in an endless spiral, where they have pain which is restricting their ability to exercise for health benefits. So your condition and their overall health, either doesn’t improve or actually gets worse.

Exercise is known for its ability to make people even more energised and vibrant. A lack of exercise has the opposite effect and can lead to an ever-decreasing spiral of lethargy. If this goes on long enough and there is no relief from pain in sight, some patients may find themselves becoming depressed about their condition and perhaps giving up hope of ever recovering.

To get rid of gout, the sufferer needs to break this cycle by looking after their own health, rather than just dealing with the external pain symptoms.
Someone in the early stages of gout, when the pain is intermittent or recurrent, but is not yet chronic, is in the best position to take a good look at their overall health and to do something about it.

Once gout becomes a chronic problem it becomes a lot harder to find the motivation and energy to really deal with it.

Sufferers need to understand that the symptoms themself are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the sufferer’s overall health.

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