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For many gout sufferers keeping their weight in check can be challenging – but it is worth the effort. Studies providing information on gout have shown that being overweight or obese increases the risk of suffering from gout and by losing weight that risk can be reduced.
Carrying extra pounds effects gout in a number of ways including:
- According to various studies carried out, the levels of uric acid in the blood were significantly higher in overweight people compared with those of normal weight
- Extra weight puts further pressure on the joints which increases the pain during a gout attack increasing the risk of more permanent joint damage.
- Damaged joints are more likely to accumulate increased levels of uric acid crystals, and so make a gout attack worse.
So losing excess pounds and staying fit and healthy are important gout prevention steps.
However, it isn’t always easy to stay fit, and that challenge becomes even more trying when you are suffering from gout. After all, when you’re suffering from a painful gout attack in one of your joints, the last thing you want to do is get up and be active. It’s tempting to give in to fad diets and weight loss pills, but deep down we all know that those aren’t long term solutions. The best information on gout that you can receive is one that recommends healthy eating, exercise, and proper rest to let you achieve and maintain your ideal weight.
To know where your weight stands in terms of your health, you will want to determine your body mass index (BMI). This system for determining your ideal weight is not without flaws, but it will give you a good overall indication of which direction your weight should be heading: up, down, or staying as it is. In general, a healthy BMI is considered to be within the range of 18.5 and 25.
To calculate your BMI, you only need a couple of measurements.
1. Your height in metres (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
2. Your weight in kg’s (1 kg = 2.2 kg)
Once you have these measurements, you can work out your BMI with the help of a calculator and the following calculations:
1. Your weight in kg divided by your height in meters= X
2. X divided by Your height in meters = your BMI
e.g If you weigh 85kg, and you are 1.80 metres tall, them your BMI would be 26.2 (85/1.8 = 47.2, 50/1.8 = 26.2)
Although there are a number of exceptions, which I will mention in a moment, the recognized scale for BMI is:
- BMI of less than 18.4 then you are underweight for your height
- BMI between 18.5 – 24.9 then you’re an ideal weight for your height
- BMI between 25 – 29.9, you’re overweight for your height
- BMI between 30 – 39.9, you’re obese
- BMI greater than 40, you’re very obese.
There are some people for who the BMI should not be considered as an accurate measure, these include those that have a large ratio of muscle to body mass, like body builders and some athletes. Also, people over the age of 60 should be aware that the BMI measure becomes less effective as bones weigh less as you get older if resistance exercise is not carried out. Finally, the BMI measurement is not accurate for children.
When a gout attack strikes, it is natural that you won’t want to exercise very much as the inflamed joint is likely to be painful and moving it will only cause it to hurt more. In fact, if you exercise a joint that is already inflamed with a gout attack, you may risk prolonging the attack and cause damage to the joint. However, it’s important to know how to exercise when the joint isn’t inflamed as this will help to maintain a healthy weight and to prevent further attacks.
Even when you have an inflamed joint due to gout, you can work on other areas of the body and gently move the joint through its natural range of motion to help prevent further stiffness. You will also likely want to use ice or cold applications on the joint to help limit the inflammation to allow for greater mobility and decreased discomfort.
Though exercise doesn’t help to break up any uric acid crystals in the joints that have already built up, it will help to strengthen the joint and allow for greater muscular movements around it.
As well as exercising, eating a healthy diet of gout-friendly foods in portions that will allow you to achieve your healthy body weight is important. It’s interesting to note that gout sufferers typically have a metabolism that is slower than people without gout (which helps to explain why the uric acid is not flushed from your blood as easily as it is in other people, allowing it to build up in crystals against your joints), so you will need to make sure that you are eating accordingly.
Information on gout shows that weight loss for gout sufferers doesn’t just involve a crash diet and a period of exercise. Instead, it means developing a lifestyle to adjust your eating and activity habits.
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