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Gout: What Is It?

Gout: What Is It?

Gout (metabolic arthritis) is a disease caused by a disorder of the uric acid metabolism. It is more common in men than women and typically occurs after age forty. Gout is characterized by excruciating sudden pain, swelling, redness, warmness and stiffness in the joint.  It is chronic and occurs in acute attacks, often in the first joint of the big toe, but is also occurs in knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists. Sometimes more than one joint may be affected at a time.

What Causes Gout?

One of main causes of gout is the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, skin, and kidneys.  Uric acid is an end product of the body’s chemical processes. The balance between the amount being produced and the amount being excreted determines the amount of uric acid within the body.  Most people with gout, however, do not produce more than the normal amount of uric acid — the imbalance results from the amount their body excretes.  Either way, when the blood becomes too full of it, the uric acid forms needle-shaped crystals in the joints that then bring about attacks of gout.

What can people with gout do to stay healthy?

Ways To Prevent Gout

  • To help prevent future attacks, take the medicines your doctor prescribes—typically high doses of anti-inflammatory medicines and a strong pain medicines.  Carefully follow instructions about how much medicine to take and when to take it. Acute gout is best treated when symptoms first occur.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines and vitamins you take. He or she can tell you if any of them increase your risk of hyperuricemia.
  • Plan follow-up visits with your doctor to evaluate your progress.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.  Avoid foods that are high in purines (organ meats such as liver or heart), and drink plenty of fluids — especially water. Fluids help remove uric acid from the body.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight. Lose weight if you are overweight, but do not go on diets designed for quick or extreme loss of weight.  These diets can increase uric acid levels in the blood.

Natural Ways to Treat Gout

  •  People who suffer from gout can get relief from drinking tart or sour cherry juice, which greatly reduces flare-ups and pain.
  • Lemons are a wonderful liver stimulant and a solvent for uric acid and other toxins. Drinking lemon water can help.
  • It is believed that unsweetened apple cider can be used as a preventative against gout.
  • Dandelion leaves, used internally, can fight gout.
  • Making a tea from burdock (plant, roots, seeds), helps reduce gout symptoms.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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