Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, results from an excess of uric acid, a waste product formed from the breakdown of nitrogen compounds called purines, which are found naturally in the body and certain foods.
Some medications (such as aspirin, diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and high-dose niacin), alcohol (especially large amounts), surgery, physical trauma and sometimes even hot weather (because of dehydration) may increase uric acid levels and trigger gout.
Untreated gout, over time, can cause arthritis and permanently damage joints, while elevated uric acid can also cause kidney stones and is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Get your gout under control by losing weight, drinking less alcohol, eating less red meat and products containing high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose (all of which increase uric acid). Increase your water, dairy and foods rich in vitamin C, and enjoy a cup of coffee or two, even decaf, which has been shown to reduce the risk of gout somewhat.
Read more on foods to avoid if you have gout.
For more info on managing your condition, visit the Arthritis Centre.
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