Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do I Need To Stop Drinking For The Gout To Go Away? by Charlene J Nuble

What exactly is gout? According to medical experts, it’s a rheumatic disease and a form of arthritis. Seventy percent of gout sufferers experience joint pains on their big toe. Elderly men are also prone to this disease but that doesn’t mean that women are exempted. The gout attacks are extremely painful and acute; aside from the ankle and big toe joints, gout can also occur on the elbow, hands, wrist, and knees.

One of the primary causes of gout is drinking. ‘Do I need to stop drinking for the gout to go away?’ Perhaps this question is also lingering inside your mind.

To answer that question for you, you should know about some helpful gout facts. Alcoholics usually don’t exhibit any signs or symptoms of gout at the beginning. Some studies revealed that gout attacks happened many years of being an alcoholic; the development of gout is dependent on the amount of alcohol intake over the years.

Studies determined the relative risks (RR) of drinking alcohol as follows:

- Less than 1 drink per day gives an RR of 1.322.

- 1-2 drinks is equal to 1.49 RR3.

- 2-3.7 drinks yielded an RR of 1.964.

- More than 3.7 drinks per day gives you an RR of 2.53

Drinking beer can also cause gout. If you drink 12 ounces of beer every day, the RR is 1.49. The risk of developing gout was also significant among people who drink spirits like vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, etc. The RR was 1.15 for multivariate drinks. Four ounces of wine consumption yielded an RR of 1.04. Studies also showed that wine contains oxypurines or purines. The purine is converted to uric acid when it enters the body and as you already know - high levels of purine causes gout.

Why is it that alcoholic drinks cause gout?

When you consume alcohol, it is broken down to lactate and this contributes to urate retention. Purine load can come from stouts, certain red wines, and port; if you drink too much alcohol (containing purine), you will surely become prone to gout. Researches also showed that drinking is associated with obesity. People with weight problems are also susceptible to gout.

If you stop drinking beer and other alcoholic drinks, you can avoid purine. However, aside from abstaining from alcohol, people who are at high risk of developing gout should also avoid foods which contain purine like seafoods and organ meats. Drinking and feasting can definitely cause gout attacks but the greater factor which leads to the disease is drinking.

For those who want to prevent gout attacks, you can start introducing gradual changes in your lifestyle. It would be impossible to stop drinking alcohol completely. You can abstain by drinking little by little.

Dietary changes also prove effective in gout prevention. Try to limit your consumption of mackerel, herrings, fish roe, anchovies, shrimps, sardines, sprats, heart, kidney, meat liver, and sweetbreads. Some veggies also contain purine and you should limit yourself in eating mushrooms, asparagus, peas, and beans.

If gout runs in you family, you must be extra careful.

So, for your question, 'Do I Need to Stop Drinking for the Gout to Go Away?’ Drinking alcohol can have some benefits but if you want to manage or control gout attacks, it would be wise to stop drinking but drink plenty of water instead.