It`s hard to put your best foot forward when gout pain strikes in the middle of the night swelling your big toe up like a big red beet, but that`s what happens when uric acid slowly begins to accumulate in the blood.
If your body produces too much chemical called uric acid or your kidneys fail to flush away the excess amounts through urination it forms tiny crystals that will eventually lodge in joints and permanently stay there.
The big toe is particularly vulnerable causing a royal pain that is hard to deal with. It leaves the affected area hot swollen and extremely tender to the touch and has been known to waken many gout suffers from a sound sleep when it strikes.
Gout tends to run in families but usually strikes aged men who are over weight, drink alcohol , and eat too many organ meats, gravies and other foods that are rich in purines that cause uric acid.
Ways To Curb Your Pain
Most attacks will last 7 – 10 days . If the pain and discomfort gets you down it can be temporarily reduced if you pack your toe in ice. Loosley fill a plastic bag with crushed ice. Wrap a towel around the bag then wrap both around the toe making sure that the towel lies between your toe and the ice. Leave the ice pack in place for 20 minutes and repeat this three times a day.
Try a box to ease your pain at night. Find a cardboard box that fits your foot when placed on its side. Leave enough space around the top and sides of the box so that your foot remains comfortable when it is inside. Place the box under your bedding so that the sheets and blanket are draped over top.
When you are ready to retire for the night place your foot inside the box .This will lift the pressure off your foot giving you a more peaceful sleep.
Avoid rich foods. Keep uric acid in check by avoiding rich foods which tend to be high in pruines substances that turn to uric acid in the blood. Some of the chief offenders are organ meat, aged cheese, beer wine, brewers yeast, anchovies , herrings and sardines.
Any one who suffers from gout would do well to educate themself about the medications they are taking.On one hand the medications that are perscribed for gout can cause some very unpleasant side effects. Conversly medications taken for other conditions such as high blood pressure can cause gout as a side effect . So whether an attack is caused by foods or medications one should always be aware of what triggers it in order to stay pain free.
It is also important that gout suffers drink water because they have a tendency to form kidney stones. The Merck manual advises to drink at least 3 quarts of fluid and those fluids should not be alcohol.
Slimming down is also another sensible step to take. However never go on a crash diet or try to loose weight when your having an active attack because the sudden weight loss increases the concentration of uric acid in the body.
Going without food for 24 hours or more or eating less than a 1,000 calories a day causes the body to break down protein so fast that uric acid levels will rise and start to create a problem.
Remember gout is a condition that never really goes away but it can be controlled by diet,medications and alternative means which will always be a step in the right direction in being able to live a more comfortable life with fewer attacks.