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Arthritis diet: One cold drink that could help ease painful symptoms

BBC Breakfast: Charlie Stayt reveals in 2014 that he had gout

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Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by hyperuricemia – when there’s too much uric acid in the body. A build-up of uric acid turns into crystals that can lodge in between joints. According to research, published in the Arthritis and Rheumatology journal, one cold beverage could help minimise the recurrence of gout attacks. Building on prior experiments, cherry juice has been shown to lower uric acid levels in the body.

Furthermore, cherry products “contain high levels of anthocyanin”, which possess anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

To investigate the pain mitigating effects of cherries, the researchers conducted a “case-crossover study”.

This involved analysing the data of 633 gout patients, comparing the frequency of gout attacks of those who did and did not consume cherries.

Overall, cherry intake – over a two-day period – was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks.

This finding persisted regardless of sex, obesity status, alcohol use, and use of anti-gout medication.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested other ways to prevent future gout attacks.

Preventative measures included:

  • Losing weight
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Eat less red meat
  • Eat less organ meat

“Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia (like diuretics) may also help,” added the CDC.

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The management of painful gout flare-ups include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS) such as:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Steroids
  • Colchicine.

Living with gout will be much less painful if you choose activities that are “easy on the joints”.

It may seem counter intuitive, but exercise – done in a safe way – can help manage arthritis.

Particular activities suited for people with gout include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Biking.

“Experts recommend that adults engage in 150 minutes per week of at least moderate physical activity,” said the CDC.

“Every minute of activity counts, and any activity is better than none,” the CDC added.

Remaining active is also a good way to lose or maintain your weight, which can reduce the pressure felt on the joints.

Keeping excess weight off (or losing excess weight) is particularly useful if you have arthritis in the hips and/or knees.

“Reaching or maintaining a healthy weight can relieve pain, improve function, and slow the progression of arthritis,” the CDC emphasised.

How long does a gout attack last for?

“An attack of gout usually lasts five to seven days, then gets better,” said the NHS.

It’s advised that you call 111 if you suffer from a gout attack and it’s accompanied by a very high temperature, you feel sick, and you can’t eat.

“It may not cause lasting damage to joints if you get treatment immediately,” the NHS added.

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