Nearly 9 million Americans suffer from gout, which is a form of inflammatory arthritis that typically affects the big toe. It presents with sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness, often waking you up in the middle of the night.
- Intense joint pain
- Lingering discomfort
- Inflammation and redness
- Limited range of motion
Gout occurs when elevated levels of uric acid in your body form into crystals. The crystals tend to settle in joints, which lead to inflammation and pain. Uric acid is formed when your body breaks down a substance called purine. Purines are found in certain foods, including red meat and organ meats, such as liver. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) promote higher levels of uric acid.
Risk factors include:
- Diet…of course. Eliminate sources of uric acid;
- Excessive weight can limit your body’s ability to process uric acid;
- Medical Conditions. Including untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart and kidney diseases;
- Certain medication. Including Low-dose aspirin and some medications used to control hypertension — including thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers;
- Family history of gout.
- Age and sex. Men are more likely to develop gout, but women become more at risk after menopause;
- Recent trauma or surgery – may trigger an attack.
Recent research shows that acupuncture can significantly enhance the treatment of gout. A recent study showed that when acupuncture is added to drug therapy (NSAID in this case) combined with diet restrictions, the efficacy of treatment increased from 82% to 95%. Treatments were administered daily for 10 consecutive days.
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