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If you suffer from gout then you likely don’t need any additional motivation to treat the condition than to simply make the pain and discomfort go away. It is a very unpleasant condition that can cause substantial frustration and inconvenience in your life. However, worse than that is that if left untreated, repeated gout attacks can cause permanent joint damage that will lead to far greater problems later in life, beyond the occasional gout attack.
The first step to reducing the chances of permanent joint damage after experiencing a gout attack is to treat the underlying cause of your gout to prevent future flare-ups. This will probably involve certain life changes but when considering the outcome, are well worth the alterations in habit. This includes drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation or eliminating them altogether from your diet.
It will also mean that if you’re overweight you should strive to achieve a healthy body weight and maintain it. Any weight change program you choose should be discussed with your doctor, as you will want to make sure it is a gradual process and not a diet that will lead you to ‘starve’ yourself and drop pounds rapidly. Rapid weight loss can actually lead to gout attacks as they cause the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream to rise. However, once the weight is off you may even find that the weight loss alone is enough to get your uric acid levels back to healthy levels that won’t cause gout.
It’s also worth talking to your doctor about any drugs you are taking, as some drugs are known to increase levels of uric acid in your blood, making it harder to treat gout and increasing the risk that you will experience further attacks.
Eating several smaller meals throughout the day, and make sure that those meals are low in purines will also help to keep your uric acid levels under control.
Other preventative steps for treating gout so you lower your risk of permanent damage to your joints may include taking certain prescribed medications. Drugs can help you to gain swift relief from attacks when they happen and also when taken daily, prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Colchicine, for example, is often prescribed to prevent attacks by taking it daily; it also dramatically reduces the frequency of the attacks. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), when taking on a daily basis can also help you to reduce the frequency of your attacks. The only issue with drugs is the unpleasant side effects that can be part and parcel of the treatment, not to mention the ongoing cost.
So while it’s important to know that while preventative steps should be taken to avoid future gout attacks this won’t help any damage that has already been done. Which is why it’s so important to get gout under control quickly.
You should also make your doctor aware of any other medications that you may be taking, or any other health conditions you may have, because drug ‘conflicts’ may occur, and preventative drugs can cause harm to people who are at risk of kidney or liver disease.
The key to preventing your joints from being permanently damaged is to achieve a gout diagnosis in time, and to begin to treatment early. You should also look for external factors you may never have considered, such as the climate in which you live. There are many causes to gout that are not always immediately obvious, but which can have a huge impact on your symptoms and life as a whole.
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