5 Lifestyle Tips for Gout
How to Live With Gout
The lifestyle tips below play a major role in preventing a gout attack. As an added bonus, they may also help prevent some complications of gout such as kidney disease and heart disease.
- Limit alcohol and foods rich in purines. When you have gout, you should avoid purine-rich foods such as fatty meats and shellfish. Also, limit alcohol—especially beer—because it can increase your uric acid levels. The good news is that eating certain foods, such as cherries, coffee, and foods rich in vitamin C, can help prevent gout attacks. Read our in-depth article for more on a diet for gout.
Also, as part of any healthy diet, you should drink plenty of water. This is particularly important if you have gout since staying hydrated can help flush out uric acid and prevent uric acid crystals from forming.
- Cut out the stress in your life. Stress may trigger a gout attack, and it can exacerbate symptoms of a gout attack. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all of your stress, there are a number of ways to help minimize it. If you’re experiencing a gout attack, reducing your stress can also help you focus on things other than the pain.
What stress management techniques work for gout? Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing. A little bit of stress relief can go a long way.
- Exercise frequently. Staying physically active is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it may help prevent a future gout attack. Among the many benefits of exercising with gout, it helps you lose weight (if you need to). Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for gout, but if you already have gout, keeping a healthy weight may help prevent a gout attack. Exercise can also help you effectively manage stress.
If you’re currently experiencing a gout attack, you shouldn’t exercise until your pain and inflammation are reduced.
If you’re new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a long time, talk to your doctor about how to be active. If you develop new symptoms when exercising, let him or her know about them.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Both rest and sleep are important when you have gout. Getting enough sleep—aim for about 8 hours every night—can help you manage stress and feel better overall. Getting enough rest can help when you’re having a gout attack, too. A gout attack can be incredibly painful, and it may be hard to move when you’re having an attack. Resting the affected joint during an attack can help you manage gout symptoms.
- Try certain herbal and dietary supplements. It’s thought that some herbal and dietary supplements can help prevent gout. Turmeric—which can be used for other inflammatory conditions in addition to gout—may help reduce inflammation. And bromelain, which is found in pineapple stems, is thought to help prevent gout.
More research needs to be done on the effectiveness of these supplements for gout. But if you’re interested in trying herbal supplements, ask your doctor before taking them; they may interact with other medications you’re taking.
Gout is an incredibly painful condition, but making these healthy lifestyle changes may help prevent gout attacks. You don’t have to make these lifestyle changes all at once. Take your time, and see which changes work best for you.