ZocdocAnswersWhat should be avoided if someone has gout?

Question

What should be avoided if someone has gout?

My husband is 55 years old and I'm starting to think he has got gout. I've heard that diet has something to do with it. Are there certain foods he should avoid to help keep his symptoms under control?

Answer

Gout can be a very painful condition that can be the cause of significant pain and even disability for affected patients. If your husband is concerned that he could be suffering from gout, he should definitely be evaluated by his physician. A primary care physician can perform a preliminary exam--gout usually leads to very characteristic inflammation in swelling in affected joints--and decide if referral to a rheumatology specialist is warranted. Overall, gout is a condition caused by the accumulation of excessive uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a byproduct of DNA breakdown, and patients with gout have trouble getting rid of excess uric acid. The excess urate can crystallize within joints (most classically the big toes, but can affect others as well) and cause a very painful swelling of the joint. When it comes to dietary factors, there are several things associated with both an increase and decrease in the risk of a gouty flare. First, consumption of alcohol, meat, and seafood can lead to an increase in gouty attacks. However, a diet high in Vitamin C, coffee, and dairy products may help lower the risk. Gout is typically managed with medications and lifestyle modification, so it is important for your husband to be evaluated by a physician to determine a) if he has gout and b) how to manage it most effectively.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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