What is gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by having too much uric acid in the joints. Uric acid is a substance that forms when your body breaks down a substance called purines. Uric acid usually dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. In people with gout, uric acid builds up and forms sharp crystals that can collect around the joints. This causes pain and swelling in the affected joints and it is most prevalent in the foot.
It often affects the big toe joint but can affect other joints in the body as well including the ankle. Men tend to have gout more often than women do, although women are more likely to have gout after the menopause. In addition, some people who eat foods that contain a lot of purines are prone to gout attacks.
Healthy Eating is the Key
There are certain foods that should be avoided if you suffer from gout. These include oily fish, some seafood, offal, meat and yeast extracts such as Marmite and Bovril and alcohol. Foods that are low in purines include dairy foods, bread and cereal, pasta, fruit and vegetables. Drinking plenty of water also reduces the likelihood of crystals forming in the kidneys.