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Dietary changes can help you avoid gout

November 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
You know you should watch what you eat so that you don't end up becoming obese or face heart problems. But there's another reason to keep an eye on your diet: the painful problem of gout is on the rise.

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood. When this happens, the uric acid can form hard crystals in the joints, leading to swelling and pain.

"We see more gout than we used to as people are getting more obese," said rheumatologist Dr. Joseph Skender.

The percentage of Americans suffering with the disease has nearly doubled in the past two decades, now reaching more than 8 million people.

Diets filled with high-fat red meats, shellfish, beer, salt and high-fat dairy products like cheese and whole milk can be a recipe for pain.

Dietitian David Schwartz recommends simple changes.

"Preliminary research is showing that increasing your intake of low-fat dairy foods like cottage cheese, skim milk and yogurt can really reduce the risk of developing gout," said Schwartz. "It is important to also increase your intake of water."

There are also a number of medications that can help treat gout.

Gout is more common in men than woman.

It's usually seen in men over 30 and in women after menopause.

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