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Researchers have proven the connection between alcohol and gout, although there is still some debate about whether the gout is actually being caused by the alcohol or aggravated by it. There is no doubt that alcohol consumption, especially in the case of beer, increases purine levels in the body, and purine is a substance that eventually dissolves into uric acid, which causes gout. Some experts think that gout is primarily caused by a genetic predisposition and that alcohol is only a trigger mechanism that causes attacks of gout to happen.
Gout is a kind of arthritic disease, which can be very painful and even disabling. When people suffer from it, the joints in certain parts of their bodies will swell and become somewhat immobilized. In many cases, gout tends to happen more in the lower extremities, and it usually starts in those areas first. It is caused by the body failing to properly digest uric acid, and the acid hardens into tiny crystals. This substance will accumulate in a person’s joints and make it hard for them to move around.
Where the alcohol and gout connection comes in is with uric acid. The acid comes from purines, which are nutrients found in certain foods. Beer has a lot of purines, and that’s why it is more associated with gout than other kinds of alcohol. There is also a lot of evidence that alcohol can make the body less efficient in disposing of uric acid, so beer has the potential for a double effect when it comes to the alcohol and gout connection. Other kinds of alcohol also have a significant association with gout, with the exception of very moderate red wine consumption.
Whether or not the alcohol and gout connection is a pure cause and effect relationship, there is a lot of evidence that staying away from alcohol can lessen the number of gout episodes and perhaps decrease the severity. In many cases when people suffer from gout, doctors might recommend that a person avoid drinking any alcohol as a preventative measure. There are some that say it is OK to indulge in alcohol to a slight degree, but this is disputed, and many doctors recommend totally stopping any alcohol intake. Other lifestyle-related changes that can help reduce gout problems include lessened meat in the diet, especially shellfish, and certain preserved fish.
When people suffer from gout, there are several treatment options that can lessen symptoms. One basic treatment approach is to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which can decrease pain and inflammation. In many cases, doctors might also put a patient on a diet to lose some weight, because being overweight is also associated with increased gout risk.
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