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New Delhi, 15 May 2018: According to a study, the incidence of gout has been increasing worldwide over the past 50 years. In India, the disease is affecting a growing number of younger people as well. Although it can affect people of any age, there are an increasing number of people in their 30s and 40s being diagnosed with this condition. There is a need to create awareness on the fact that prevention is the best way to avoid gout.
Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis which occurs due to a build-up of uric acid crystals—an excess of which is called hyperuricemia—in the blood. It is possible to have elevated levels of uric acid (higher than 6 mg/dl, which is the norm) without developing gout, but when this excessive uric acid is deposited in a single joint, it results in gout pain.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Gout can affect any joint. However, some common sites of uric acid build up include the big toe, the finger joints, the ankles or the knees. This results in intense and chronic pain. Uric acid is a waste product that should be excreted by the kidneys failing which it can lead to a build-up in the bloodstream. Although in few cases, gout is genetic, it can also result from a diet high in protein, frequent alcohol consumption and regular intake of fast foods. These habits can also increase a person’s risk of developing this condition, especially if they are predisposed to it. Often, pain related to gout occurs without warning and can escalate substantially over time.”
The characteristic signs of gout include sudden onset of joint pain and swelling, heat in the affected area, and joint redness.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Cherry intake during a two-day period is associated with a 35% lower risk for gout attacks and that cherry extract intake with a 45% lower risk. Risk for gout attacks was reduced by 75% when cherry intake was combined with allopurinol use. Cherries may decrease serum uric acid levels by increasing glomerular filtration or reducing tubular reabsorption. The fruit and its extract contain high levels of anthocyanins, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.”
Some tips from HCFI.
• Keep uric acid levels below 6 mg/dl to prevent any other health issues.
• Drink plenty of water to excrete excess uric acid to avoid kidney stones from forming
• Keep a strict tab on blood sugar levels.
• Cut out sugar and sugary drinks, canned and tinned foods, Indian sweets, and junk food that contain trans fats and cholesterol.
• Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain-based foods.