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How to Prevent Gout

Gout is the painful inflammation of a single joint, caused by a build up of uric acids. Even if you have a family history that predisposes you to gout (6 to 18 percent of us), you can make many lifestyle modifications to prevent it.

Step One Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. It leads to hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels), which causes gout.

Step Two Maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity leads to increased toxins and metabolic by-products that need to be filtered, increasing your risk.

Step Three Watch out for high-purine foods, which break down into uric acid: sardines, herring, organ meats such as kidney and sweetbreads, shrimp, anchovies, mushrooms, and dried legumes.

Step Four Avoid exposure to lead in your drinking water or household environment.

Step Five Eat cherries and strawberries. Some studies indicate these are helpful anti-gout foods.

Step Six Maintain a healthy blood pressure. Hypertension predisposes you to gout.

Step Seven Review your medicines with your doctor. Some interfere with the body's ability to remove uric acid and can trigger gout: diuretics, cyclosporine, niacin, levodopa and low doses of aspirin.

Step Eight Drink lots of water, to flush the uric acid out of your body so that it does not have the opportunity to collect in one of your joints.

Step Nine Get plenty of rest, and don't put unnecessary stress and strain on any of your joints.

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