5 Tips for Preventing a Gout Flare-Up Over the Holidays

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that can appear suddenly and painfully. If you have gout, your body has higher-than-normal levels of uric acid. The uric acid collects around joints in your body — typically in your feet or at the base of your big toe. Uric crystals form on the joint when enough acid builds up, and you experience a gout flare-up. 

Gout flare-ups feel like intense pain in the affected joint. Warmth, swelling, and tenderness often come along with the pain. Flare-ups come and go, and any number of factors can cause an increase in uric acid that triggers gout. 

If you have gout, find top-quality gout care at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle in the central Tennessee area. Our expert team of podiatrists has a combined total of over 50 years of experience treating gout. 

Let us help you learn what triggers your gout flare-ups to minimize and prevent future attacks. With the holidays coming up, it might seem hard to avoid some of the most common triggers, like food and stress, that cause gout flare-ups. Read on for our best tips for preventing gout flare-ups this holiday season.

1. Avoid alcohol

Spiked eggnog, hard cider, and more are common at holiday get-togethers. But if you have gout, drinking alcohol can put you at increased risk for experiencing a flare-up.

Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to eliminate excess uric acid. This can elevate uric acid levels and cause gout flare-ups. Both beer and liquor are linked to higher uric acid in the body. 

2. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated

Whether you’re catching up with old friends or having a mixed drink at a holiday party, make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated even when the weather turns cold outside if you don’t drink enough water. 

Dehydration makes it harder for your kidneys to filter extra uric acid from your blood, which causes uric acid levels to rise. You may be more likely to suffer a gout attack if you’re dehydrated.

3. Limit foods with high purine levels

Purine is a substance found in all foods that have protein, but some foods have more purine than others. Purine is linked to high uric acid levels, and consuming a lot of food with purines can be a problem for people with gout.

Seafood, including salmon, sardines, and mussels; organ meats like liver; and some vegetables are all high in purines. Pork, duck, and turkey — all popular holiday dishes — also have purines. To help prevent a gout attack, steer clear of these foods during holiday parties. 

4. Enjoy sugary beverages and snacks in moderation

Sweets abound during the holidays. Cookies, fruit punch, and other common party staples often contain high amounts of sugar, which can increase blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is linked to high uric acid, particularly in adults who are overweight or obese.

Avoiding soda, fruit juices, and other beverages and foods with high sugar content may help prevent gout flare-ups as you navigate the holidays this year.

5. Manage holiday stress

For some, the holiday season is synonymous with increased stress. From seeing family to holiday shopping at the mall, there are any number of reasons that you might experience higher levels of stress at the end of the year.

Stress can cause uric acid levels in your body to rise. To help manage your gout, finding ways to manage stress can help regulate uric acid. Yoga, meditation, and taking self-care steps during this busy time can help you feel more relaxed.

Whether you need quick relief from a gout flare-up or you want to learn more about managing gout long term, our podiatrists are here to help. Call the location nearest you or request your first appointment online today.