A gout flare-up can last for just a day or about 10 days. Currently, doctors use medication along with diet and lifestyle changes to treat chronic gout. During the first few attacks the symptoms, the pain, the inflammation is mild. Many just brush it away and do not get it treated. Untreated gout can lead to chronic gout. Men above the age of 50, women going through menopause, people who continue to eat high purine food and drink more than prescribed amounts are all at risk. Chronic gout is also a side effect of certain medications like diuretics. Since chronic gout cannot be cured, it has to be managed.
Acute Gout vs. Chronic Gout
Acute gout affects only a few joints and the person will only feel mild symptoms of swelling and pain. The symptoms also disappear once the flare-ups subside. The attack lasts only for 10 days or so. The symptoms might never come back or happen rarely.
Chronic Gout affects more than a few joints, and you can have more than one attack within a year and it leads to stiffness of the joints. The joints can suffer damage resulting in mobility problems. Stiff fingers, toes, and pain in the knees can cause difficulty in using them freely.
Diet management for acute and chronic gout
For acute gout, you need to take medication and make changes in your diet only during flare-ups. You can wait for a few days and once there is no relapse of any symptoms, you can go back to a normal diet. However, you have to be aware that any indulgence in purine-rich foods can put you at risk for another flare-up. You can also look up various dietary tips to manage gout.
Chronic gout and self-management
Chronic gout is a condition that does not require frequent trips to the doctor. However, do not miss your periodical or scheduled follow-ups. Make sure that you get a copy of a detailed diet plan and the purine chart. Keep a chart with you at your house and work. You should be able to track the number of purines you eat. After a few weeks of using these charts, you will instinctively know which food you can eat and which you cannot.
If at any point a gout friendly diet or food is not available, make sure to eat smaller portions rather than starving. Limit the amount of protein. See if you can have more vegetables and fruits, rather than eating meat or fish with high purine content. Make smoothies, low-fat milk, non-dairy shakes, and fluids part of your meal. You can have them for breakfast or in the evening as a snack.
Mix up your menu with gout friendly ingredients. Try out smoothies one a week; go for exotic curries with veggies. Try out international cuisines with the food that you have in your pantry.
Just because the gout is chronic, there is no need for you to feel bogged down. Be active; do not give up on regular exercise.
People with gout should give up on alcohol as consuming it can prove hazardous to health. Choose wine over beer or hard liquor.
There are home test kits available. You can do random tests to check the level of uric acids. Make a journal of your food habits to understand what causes the increase if any.
As one grows older, there is a natural tendency to add weight. The combination of obesity and chronic gout can lead to comorbidities. Hence, it is important to keep a check on your weight to protect yourself from additional health issues.
Diet alone cannot help you manage gout, you have to combine it with medication and lifestyle changes to be as pain-free as possible. Make sure you take the above mentioned dietary tips for gout.