October 04, 2012Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that is triggered by crystallization of uric acid within the joints; it causes severe pain and swelling. This condition is linked to metabolic syndromes -- health issues that include obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure -- and may lead to heart attack, diabetes and a shortened life span. A recent study Arthritis & Rheumatism found that the prevalence of gout in the U.S. has risen sharply over the last twenty years and affects four per cent or 8.3 million Americans. Researchers also found a rise in increased uric acid levels that now affect 43.3 million or 21 percent of Americans. Findings indicate that skyrocketing rates of obesity and hypertension are contributing factors. Gout attacks often come on suddenly causing a burning and painful sensation similar to arthritis. Although the majority of gout symptoms do not cause long-term damage, uric acid crystals may form in the soft tissue of organs, resulting in serious damage. Maintaining low levels of uric acid in the body is necessary to prevent future outbreaks. You can help alleviate gout flare-ups through diet and attention to your overall health. It's important to maintain a healthy weight. Obese people have higher levels of uric acid in the blood, so staying within a healthy weight range helps protect against gout. It has been shown that a slight weight gain of six to 10 pounds in early adulthood will increase the risk of developing gout. Four basic foods also help:
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