Contrary to popular belief, this painful affliction is rarely caused by too much of the good life. True, an excess of red wine can be contributory factor, but overeating and overindulgence generally are not causes of gout. In fact, it is a disorder of the body chemistry whereby too much uric acid and its compounds (urates) accumulate in the blood.
This results in acid and urate crystals collecting in one or more of the joints, causing extreme pain, swelling, and redness. The joint at the base of the big toe is particularly prone to gout and repeated attacks can damage the bones of the joints.
Urate crystals can also collect in the kidneys, leading to kidney stones, kidney failure and high blood pressure. They can also collect in the skin where they form hard lumps – the ears, fingers, and toes are all common sites.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation. A sufferer would also be advised to avoid excess alcohol and medicines that raise the blood urate level in order to prevent further attacks. Drugs that increase urate excretion may also be prescribed. Some prescription drugs reduce urate production and therefore the risk of subsequent attacks. However, they have to be taken every day for some years.
At the Hale clinic, diagnosis is made by a blood test, which generally requires a physician’s opinion. Biomedical drugs may be required initially and you should notify your alternative medicine specialist of everything you are taking or being given.
Nutrition plays a vital role in the treatment of gout – and in the prevention of a recurrence – so nutritional/naturopathic or Ayurvedic advice on a suitable diet is highly recommended. Colonic Hydrotherapy may also compliment a nutritional program as well as homeopathy. One of the most common homeopathic remedies for gout is Colchicum. The patient's emotional, mental and physical are also focused upon.
According to Ayurveda, gout is known as Vatarakta, meaning toxicity in the blood causing toxic deposits or inflammation commonly in joints of the toes or fingers. In the treatment, an understanding of the dosha state (the patient’s general “type”) is as important as is looking into diet and lifestyle.
Specific oral preparations are available, but a detoxification program using panchakarma (revitalizing) methods is the most important aspect of addressing gout successfully. Ayurvedic diets prescribe alkaline foods which include fish, vegetables, and fruit.
If the body is not eliminating efficiently, it will obviously retain waste. The body protects its most vital organs and so it dumps its waste at points that are not as important, depositing uric acid in the joints. In general terms, if you can improve elimination through the bowel, it will help the other organs of elimination. The nature of toxins is to be acidic. Poor bowel elimination stresses the lymphatic system (our second major waste-disposal system).
A nutritionist will put together a specially tailored, low-protein, rehydration diet which is strongly recommended for gout. You are likely to be recommended to concentrate on alkaline foods to counter excess uric acid production; suitable foods include vegetables, brown rice, pulses, millet, and lots of water. Foods to avoid include spinach and rhubarb, and you should cut out altogether red meat, alcohol, tea, coffee, and dairy products, all of which are acidic.