Can I avoid gout?

Q. My father has gout a lot. Is it something I can avoid?

Rob HicksDr Rob Hicks, Spring Chicken GP tells us:

Gout can run in families but that doesn’t mean a person is guaranteed to develop it. Moreover, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of gout developing. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood that then forms crystals around the joints, resulting in inflammation and pain. Uric acid is naturally formed in the body when chemicals called purines are broken down. So reducing, or avoiding, foods and drinks high in purines may help. These include offal, game and seafood. Beer and stout are also high in purines.

Drinking enough liquid to remain hydrated lessens the chance of crystals forming. Keeping to a healthy weight helps too as being overweight is linked to high blood uric acid levels. Some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol increase the risk of gout so it’s best to avoid these for this and other important reasons.

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