Gout flare ups are unpredictable, but there are things you can do to minimize the chances of any future flare ups.
Preventing gout flare-ups involves making certain lifestyle changes and managing risk factors that contribute to elevated uric acid levels. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent gout flare-ups:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of gout. Losing weight gradually through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce uric acid levels and prevent flare-ups.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps dilute uric acid in the blood and encourages its elimination through urine. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
- Follow a Low-Purine Diet: Limit or avoid foods high in purines, as they can lead to increased uric acid levels. Such foods include red meat, organ meats, shellfish, sugary beverages, and alcohol (especially beer).
- Choose Low-Fat Dairy: Low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, can help lower uric acid levels. They contain proteins that may help excrete uric acid from the body.
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Beer and liquor, in particular, are associated with increased gout risk. Opt for wine or limit alcohol intake.
- Limit Fructose: High-fructose corn syrup found in sweetened beverages and some processed foods can increase uric acid levels. Choose natural sugars in moderation.
- Increase Complex Carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates and fiber that can help regulate uric acid levels.
- Manage Stress: Stress and certain medications can trigger gout attacks. Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or regular exercise.
- Limit Certain Seafoods: While not all seafood is high in purines, certain types like anchovies, sardines, and mussels are. Consume these in moderation.
- Medications: If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, your doctor might prescribe medications to lower uric acid levels or manage pain during flare-ups. Follow your doctor’s recommendations closely.
- Monitor Uric Acid Levels: Regular monitoring of uric acid levels can help you track your progress and adjust your strategies if needed.
- Avoid Crash Diets: Rapid weight loss and crash diets can lead to increased uric acid levels. Aim for gradual and sustainable weight loss.
- Exercise Regularly: Engage in regular physical activity, as exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and improve overall health.
- Stay Compliant with Medications: If your doctor prescribes medications to manage gout, take them as directed and attend follow-up appointments.
If you follow most of these tips, you’ll greatly improve your chances of preventing any future gout attacks. Work on your lifestyle changes, diet and exercise regularly. That should be sufficient in preventing any gout flare ups. For me personally, I try to avoid medications if I can. I typically take medicines only after a flare up has occurred and I need quick relief.