Gout is a common type of arthritis that causes chronic pain and occurs when there is too much uric acid (sodium urate) in the blood, tissues and urine.
The uric acid that accumulates ultimately crystallizes and takes on a needle-like shape, jabbing into the joints (big toe, mid-foot, ankle, knees, wrists, and fingers).
Acute joint pain is usually the first symptom, then the joints become inflamed—red, hot, swollen and extremely sensitive to touch. Repeated gout attacks can eventually lead to joint damage.
The uric acid that accumulates is the end product of the metabolism of a class of compounds known as purines. If there is a physiological deficiency of the digestive enzyme uricase, then uric acid is not made sufficiently water-soluble and it accumulates and crystallizes, especially at lower temperatures, which may explain why joints in the extremities are most affected.
Approximately 70% of those who suffer from gout actually produce too much uric acid while the other 30% cannot properly make uric acid water-soluble and eliminate it. About 25% have a family history of gout. Poor kidney function can also play a role in the development of the disease.
Uric acid is the byproduct of certain foods, so there is a significant relationship between diet and the development of gout. Historical depictions of King Henry the VIII of England often illustrate him with his toe or foot bandaged and elevated, suffering the pain of gout.
Gout has been called the “rich man’s disease” since it is associated with obesity and the consumption of too much rich food and alcohol. However, it affects people from all walks of life, most commonly men (90%) between the ages of 40 and 50. Besides the propensity for developing gout that can be inherited, calorie-restrictive dieting, drinking, certain medications, overeating, stress, surgery or injury to a joint can also bring on attacks. Uric acid kidney stones may also be related to the condition.
Several other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, infections and pseudogout, can mimic the joint symptoms of gout. Pseudogout is another form of arthritis that occurs in the larger joints—usually knees, wrists or ankles—caused by the development or deposition of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals. The best method for getting a definitive diagnosis of gout is by taking a joint fluid sample by needle aspiration and examining the joint fluid for the characteristic uric acid crystals.
Note: The dietary recommendations and considerations described below contain foods to which some individuals may have food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. In those cases, those foods should be avoided. Dietary choices should be modified to meet your personal dietary needs. Consult your physician/clinician for further information regarding nutrition and your individual medical condition and for a comprehensive gout prevention/management protocol.
The basic treatment goals involve: (1) dietary and herbal measures that maintain uric acid levels within the normal range (2) controlled weight loss in overweight individuals (3) avoidance of known precipitating factors (alcohol, diet, etc.) (4) the use of nutritional substances to prevent further attacks and (5) the use of herbal and nutritional substances to inhibit the inflammatory process. Urinary 24-hour uric acid levels can be used to monitor the effectiveness of dietary therapy.
Need my help treating your Gout or chronic pain condition? As an autoimmune patient I understand how to go about managing pain naturally. Simply visit my SCHEDULE page to treat yourself to a Naturopathic visit. I would be happy to help!
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!