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Are gout attacks preventable?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Many people with gout have a family history of the condition. However, it may be possible to avoid gout by maintaining a healthy weight, consuming little or no alcohol, avoiding foods that are high in purines (such as liver, anchovies, or asparagus), treating hypothyroidism, and when possible avoiding medications that may lead to gout (such as thiazide diuretics). If you have gout you can help prevent flare ups by monitoring your uric acid levels, avoiding a diet rich in purine-high foods, limiting alcohol consumption, and taking medications to manage high levels of uric acid in your body. If you have just had an attack, taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug may help prevent another one.
Focus on lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for developing gout and kidney damage. High uric acid is the strongest risk factor for developing gout, but if you eliminate the causes of high uric acid such as obesity and high blood pressure, then you may prevent gout attacks.
  • Follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Limit sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, especially those that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Limit alcohol, meat and fish, especially shrimp and lobster. Avoid crash diets because they can make the urine more acidic, which makes it harder for uric acid to dissolve.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (8 cups) to help reduce the risk for stone formation.
  • Follow the medication regimen prescribed by your doctor.
  • Track your serum uric acid (sUA) level (amount of uric acid in your blood), your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR). You can also record your weight, blood pressure, gout symptoms and triggers for your attacks. By keeping track of this information, you will see how well you are preventing attacks. If you are having problems, the reasons may be more clear, allowing you and your doctor to fine-tune your treatment plan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.