By Deepa Dhavjekar
Gout refers to a certain form of inflammation of the joints and swellings of recurrent type. Although chronic in character, it breaks in acute attacks. It is a disease of the wealthy and chiefly affects middle-aged men. Women after menopause are also sometimes affected by this disease.
Understanding the Disease
The chief cause of gout is the formation of uric acid crystals in joints, skin and kidneys. Uric acid is an end product of the body’s chemical processes. Those affected by gout have higher levels of uric acid than normal. This uric acid usually remains dissolved in the blood. If Uric acid concentration in blood increases beyond a certain limit then crystals of the acid are formed which are deposited in joints. This is the cause of gout attacks gout.
Causes of the Disease
• Hereditary is an important factor. Certain races are more prone to gout.
• Excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, regular consumption of protein and carbohydrate rich foods accompanied with a lack of exercise.
An attack of gout is usually accompanied with acute pain in the big toe, which, in a matter of a few hours, becomes tender, hot and swollen. Usually, during the acute stage of the disease, it is almost impossible to put weight on the affected foot. It may also similarly affect other joints such as knees and wrists. Sometimes more than one joint may be affected at a time.
Intervals between attacks may span between several weeks to months. Intervals become shorter if the disease is not treated properly.
Complications of the disease
• Joint generally get damaged by arthritis. This is in case of chronic gout.
• Formation of kidney stones which in some cases damages kidneys.
• For an acute attack there is no better remedy than a fast undertaken for five to seven days drinking only orange juice and water on all days. (Sometimes in the early stages of fasting conditions may worsen. This is because uric acid dissolved by the juice is thrown into the bloodstream for elimination. This usually clears up if fasting is continued. In severe cases, it is advisable to undertake a series of short fasts of durations of three days. On all days of the fast a warm water enema has to done daily to cleanse bowels.)
• All purine and uric acid producing foods such as meats, eggs and fish have to be avoided. Glandular meats (liver, kidney, brain, heart and tongue) are especially harmful.
• All alcoholic drinks, tea, coffee, sugar, refined flour, and canned and processed foods. Use as little spice and salt as possible.
• The cherries both sweet and sour are considered an effective remedy.
• Foods rich in potassium such as potatoes, bananas, leafy green vegetables, beans and raw vegetable juices are protective against gout.
• Carrot juice (300 ml) in combination with cucumber and beet juice (100 ml each) is especially valuable.
• Juice of French beans has also proved effective in the treatment of gout. About 150 ml of this juice should be drunk.
• Raw potato juice and fresh pineapple juice are also beneficial.
• Bath feet in Epsom salt foot baths twice, daily. Half a pound to one pound of salt may be added to a foot bath of hot water. Full Epsom salt baths should also be taken three times a week. The baths may be reduced to two per week latter.
• Cold packs applied to affected joints, at night, will be beneficial.
• Fresh air and outdoor exercise are also essential.
• Eliminate as much stress from life as possible
Gout: Symptoms, treatment, causes and more
By Deepa Dhavjekar