The drink to prevent a painful crystal build-up in the joints

Gout: Dr. Rosemary Leonard advises on symptoms and treatment

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The number of people affected by gout appears to be increasing, with figures confirming an exponential increase in the past two decades. Fortunately, almost all cases of gout are treatable. Getting enough liquid in the body may be a critical starting point in the prevention of painful flare-ups.

There is limited evidence that any specific diet prevents gout flare-ups, but certain triggers are easily avoidable.

According to the organisation Arthritis Action, avoiding dehydration is of the utmost importance for the prevention of gout attacks.

In 2017, PLoS One warned that excess physical activity and dehydration were important precursors for hyperuricemia.

This is because a dehydrated body is far less likely to successfully clear out waste products.

Among these are nitrogenous wastes like uric acid, which linger in the blood and inflict inflammatory responses in the joints.

When the body does expel the acids, unusually high levels build up in the body and transform into microscopic crystals.

The needle-like particles usually form in and around the joints, due to the higher temperatures in the areas of the body.

After uric acid concentrations reach a certain threshold, symptoms come on rapidly, generally within the space of a few hours.

“These typically last three to 10 days,” explains the NHS, adding: “After this time the pain should pass and the joint should return to normal.

“Almost everyone with gout will experience further attacks at some point, usually within a year.”

Other factors like sweating and hot weather can contribute to the build-up of crystals by promoting extra fluid loss from the body.

Sometimes, purines – a group of chemicals present in various body tissues and different foods – are one of the main precursors for uric acid.

As the body breaks down purines, it produces various byproducts, including uric acid which leaves the body via urine.

Flare-ups generally occur when the kidneys fail to excrete sufficient amounts of uric acid, but an overproduction of uric acid is also a potential cause.

To prevent such overloads, it may be wise to avoid foods with high purine levels, such as liver, kidney and sweetbreads.

GP, Dr Gill Jenkin, advisor to the topical pain specialists Deep Relief said: “It is never too late to improve the health of your joints and muscles and it’s never too soon to start.

“Taking steps to reduce weight and inflammation, and improve activity levels and posture will only help to protect and future-proof your joints, but they will also lead to noticeable improvements in health and well-being across the board.

“It can be a struggle to stay active when you have an injury or experience chronic pain from arthritis and other joint problems.

“Effective pain relief is vital for maintaining mobility.”

The key to staying hydrated is drinking sufficient amounts of fluid to maintain a pale clear colour in your pee.

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