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Natural Gout Treatments

The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) calls gout "one of the most painful forms of arthritis." It's caused by a high level of uric acid in the blood. The build-up of uric acid in the body is called hyperuricemia, but not everyone with the condition will get gout.

Painful Conditions And Gout

The build-up of uric acid can cause a variety of painful conditions.

· The build-up can build up as deposits under the skin. These built-up deposits show up as lumps and are called tophi.

· Uric acid can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.

· Uric acid can crystallize and get deposited in the joints causing inflammation and pain.

The NIAMS says that the first attach of gout a person experiences is usually in the big toe.

"One night I woke up with such incredible pain in my big toe," says George a 60-year-old retired mechanic of his first gout attack. "I couldn't figure out what was wrong. My entire toe swelled up and became very red and warm. It was so painful putting on my socks was agony!"

Gout doesn't just occur in the big toe, according to the NIAMS. It can occur in almost any joint including fingers, elbows, wrists, knees, heels, insteps and ankles.

Early attacks tend to get better within three to ten days, even without treatment. It can be years before the next gout attack.

Who's Likely to Get Gout?

Men tend to get gout more often, although there are also women with gout. Women who have gout may need to push for a proper diagnosis because there are some physicians who won't test for this condition even if there are symptoms.

Those who are overweight, drink too much alcohol, are exposed to lead in the environment, have had an organ transplant or eat purine-rich foods are at a higher risk for getting this type of arthritis.

Gout may be hereditary. If you have a family member with the disease, it increases your likelihood of getting the condition. Some people are born with an enzyme defect, according to the NAIMS, that makes it difficult for the body to effectively break down purines.

The vitamin niacin can increase or cause a gout attack. Some research suggests other medications such as levodopa, aspirin, diuretics or cyclosporine can also be the cause of this condition.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis usually involves your doctor taking a sample of fluid from the inflamed joint to look for uric acid crystals.

George's doctor did this. "It wasn't pleasant," admits George about the process of a needle being put into his sore big toe.

Your doctor may also ask you a series of questions.

Medical treatment typically involves non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicines (within 12 hours of an attack) or corticosteroids.

Natural Treatments

Scientists agree that there is a connection between certain foods and vitamins and gout attacks. To date, there is no concrete proof that certain diets work. But many gout sufferers have had success with some of these natural treatments.

· Consume 150ml of string bean (or French bean) juice daily

· Eight or nine bananas daily for three to four days. Nothing else must be eaten. It's fine to drink water.

· Eat 15 to 20 fresh cherries first thing in the morning. Avoid canned cherries. Cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins that scientists have discovered relieves overall inflammation.

· Consume one apple after every meal. It's believed that the malic acid in apples neutralizes uric acid.

· Drink the juice of half a lime squeezed into a glass of water twice daily. Limes are high in vitamin C and vitamin C is known for strengthening connective tissues of the body. It's also a solvent of uric acid.