Physicians should encourage gout patients to take steps to manage their gout with these important lifestyle changes.
- Check Uric Acid Levels Twice a Year – The goal should be a uric acid level below 6.0 mg/dL.
- Exercise Regularly – Adults should engage in moderate-intensity physical activities for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight – An obese person is four times more likely to develop gout than someone with ideal body weight. If a patient is obese, weight loss should be encouraged. Physicians should explain the dangers of crash diets and high-protein fad diets.
- Stay Hydrated – Many dietitians recommend consuming at least 64 ounces of water daily, and more if the patient is exercising. Water helps the body transport nutrients and waste, regulates body temperature and cushions joints and tissues. Research also suggests that drinking adequate water might guard against kidney stones and constipation. Some experts believe that drinking water can help remove uric acid from the bloodstream. Patients should avoid sports drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
- Take Vitamins – The risk of gout appears to be lower in men taking daily vitamins. Vitamin C may be a useful supplement in the 500 to 1000 mg per day range.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet – Diet can play a role in gout management -- but, contrary to popular belief, there is not a strict "gout diet." Typically, foods high in purines -- chemicals that increase the amount of uric acid in the blood -- should be eaten in moderation and completely avoided during flares. Foods and beverages that contain high-fructose corn syrup should also be limited. However, diet changes alone are not enough to control gout. It's also important to prescribe a urate-lowering medication to help patients achieve a healthy uric acid level of 6.0 mg/dL or below.