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What is Gout?

What is Gout?

Gout -- Yip Suting, Guardian Pharmacist

What is gout?
Also known as the king’s disease, gout attacks can be so painful and sudden that you get awakened from your sleep. This happens when the uric acid in your blood gets deposited between your joints instead of getting cleared out by your kidneys. As a result, your joints get inflamed, which may lead to pain, warmth, and/or stiffness.

Will I need to see a doctor?
The symptoms of gout can sometimes cause it to be mistaken for other diseases. Hence if it is the first time you’re experiencing an attack, it would be a good idea to see a doctor to get a clear diagnosis.

How do I cure gout?
Gout cannot be cured. However, if you are having frequent attacks, the doctor may start you on medications to lower your uric acid levels. For occasional attacks, you may take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen which are both available as pharmacy-only medications.

Should people suffering from gout follow a special diet?
Purines are a type of chemical compound that get broken down into uric acid inside our bodies. Certain foods contain concentrated amounts of purines and consuming them may lead to gout attacks. Hence, individuals suffering from gout are advised to limit their intake of purine-rich food like animals’ internal organs (e.g. liver, brain, kidneys) and certain seafood (e.g. sardines, mackerel, cockles or scallops). Alcohol should be consumed in moderation as some alcoholic beverages such as beer can increase the risk of a gout attack. Drinking more water and staying hydrated also helps in managing gout.

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