How to prevent gout
You can manage gout symptoms and help to prevent them occurring by taking gout medication and making dietary and lifestyle choices. Medication can help to stop your level of uric acid getting too high, whilst avoiding certain foods which cause your body to create more uric acid can also be effective in preventing gout. Lifestyle choices, such as exercise, can also help to prevent gout.
Some medication is anti-inflammatory and can reduce or prevent the pain caused by gout by reducing inflammation of the affected joint. Other medications to reduce the production of uric acid in your body, or to help assist your kidneys in the removal of uric acid from your body. Because a high level of uric acid increases the risk of an attack of gout, reducing the level of uric acid in your body using these medications can help to prevent it.
Changing your diet
You can reduce the risk of gout by making changes to your diet. Your body naturally produces uric acid when breaking down purines, a substance which is found in your body. Some foods also contain purines, and so consuming them can increase your level of uric acid. These include:
- red meat
- organ meat or offal (such as liver and kidney)
- seafood (including anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna)
Drinks can also promote higher levels of uric acid, including:
- drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose)
- alcohol, especially beer
Avoiding consumption of these food and drink items can help to prevent high levels of uric acid. This can result in a reduced risk of gout.
Making choices about your lifestyle can help to prevent future attacks of gout. The following actions can help to reduce the chances of another attack of gout:
- gentle or moderate regular exercise that avoids putting lots of pressure on joints
- achieving a healthy weight (avoid using ‘crash diets’)
- eating a healthy and balanced diet
- staying hydrated
- asking your GP about vitamin C supplements
- having alcohol-free days every week
- avoiding consuming more than 14 units of alcohol per week spread over at least 3 days
- stopping smoking