If you’ve experienced a gout flare-up before, you know how painful it can be. It’s unlikely you’ll want to attend any holiday parties or go shopping when you’re in that kind of pain.
Jarna Rathod-Bhatt, DPM, and Rahul Bhatt, DPM, at Apple Podiatry Group in Arlington, Fort Worth, and Flower Mound, Texas, have put together this list of tips to help you avoid a gout flare-up during the holidays. First, though, we’d like to take a moment to offer an overview of what gout is, how podiatry services can help if you have gout, and why flare-ups are common during the festive season.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, which means it makes your joints tender and inflamed. Typically, the most affected joint is in your big toe. Flare-ups can happen very suddenly.
When you have gout, you have higher-than-average levels of uric acid in your blood. The uric acid tends to collect around the joint at the base of your big toe. Eventually, the acid crystalizes, forming uric crystals. Those crystals cause the pain and inflammation associated with gout.
Podiatric care for gout
Our highly trained podiatrists, Dr. Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Bhatt, can help you understand what triggers your gout flare-ups and the best way to care for your foot or feet when you’re having a flare. With our knowledgeable team guiding you, you can limit the number of flare-ups you experience.
Follow the following five tips this holiday season and minimize and prevent gout flare-ups.
1. Back away from the booze
The holidays come with trays of spiked eggnog, mulled wine, and hard cider, but drinking alcohol when you have gout can lead to more flare-ups. Whether it’s beer, wine, or liquor, alcohol is a common gout trigger.
Alcohol makes it difficult for your body to eliminate excess uric acid. When uric acid levels build up, you’re at a higher risk of having a flare-up.
2. Add water
Keeping your body well-hydrated can help you avoid flare-ups. We often don’t feel thirsty during the winter, and it’s easy to become dehydrated. Grab a glass of water while you decorate, chat with friends, or mingle at the office party.
Dehydration makes it harder for your kidneys to filter the uric acid out of your blood and raises your risk of a flare-up.
3. Watch what you eat
Certain foods contain high levels of a substance called purine, which is associated with high levels of uric acid. All foods that contain protein have some purine, but some are particularly high.
Seafood, including salmon, sardines, and mussels; organ meats like liver; and some vegetables are all high in purine. Pork, duck, and turkey — common holiday dishes — also contain higher levels of purine. Avoiding these foods can help keep your uric acid levels lower.
4. Moderate sugar intake
Who doesn’t love a Christmas cookie? Fruit punch, cakes, candies, and other sugary treats can raise your blood sugar and high blood sugar levels are linked to high uric acid levels.
Avoid soda, fruit juice, baked goods like cookies or cakes, and other sugary foods and beverages this holiday season, or if you struggle to avoid them, try to limit them. By reaching for the carrot sticks instead of the candy canes, you might be able to prevent a gout flare-up.
5. Lower stress levels
Whether you love or hate the holiday season, one thing is certain: the flurry of parties, gift-giving, decorating, and commitments can be stressful. Perhaps family gatherings are stressful, or maybe you’re uncomfortable with crowds when you shop. Whatever the reason, the holidays can bring about undesirable stress.
Stress and high uric acid levels are related. And, though it can be difficult, finding ways to manage your stress is crucial to limiting gout flare-ups. You may want to carve out time specifically for yoga, meditation, or other activities to help lower stress, especially during the holiday season.
Get tailored advice
If you’d like to know more about preventing gout flare-ups or how a podiatrist can help you manage this painful form of arthritis, call Apple Podiatry Group or use online booking to schedule an appointment today. Our experts are happy to discuss ways you can manage gout in the context of your busy life.