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Managing Your Gout Hypertension Risk

Apr 4, 2008
A gout friendly diet can be very beneficial when treating and preventing recurrent gout attacks, but can a special diet do anything for related gout hypertension? It certainly can. Diet and lifestyle change are the two best treatment methods for a person who suffers from both gout and high blood pressure.

Despite the fact that it is possible to mange both gout and hypertension, have you ever wondered how these two conditions are related? Despite the fact that medical researchers are aware of a connection between the two conditions, it is not yet entirely understood how they are related.

Gout has often been associated with cardiac problems because elevated uric acid levels are strongly linked with cardiovascular disease. This has prompted the undertaking of a number of studies to determine if hypertension, as well as other health issues including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and obesity, are merely associated with raised uric acid levels, or if elevated uric acid level problems play a direct role in these conditions.

It is interesting to note that studies have found hypertension occurs in approximately a third of all individuals with gout, and high blood urate levels can be found in about a quarter of individuals with hypertension.

Although the link between hypertension and gout is unclear, enough evidence has been found to determine that a connection does exist. Therefore, if you suffer from gout, it would be worthwhile asking your doctor about having your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, especially if you have a family history of hypertension.

If you know you suffer from both gout and hypertension, the following are different ways you can manage both conditions effectively:

- Control your diet. Eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is essential to your overall wellbeing. According to the American Medical Association, a balanced diet is one that includes:
* Significant complex carbohydrates (I.E. fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
* Limited protein (skinless, white poultry and lean meats should be the source of protein and make up only 15% of calories).
* A maximum of 30% of calories from fat (10% should be animal fat)

However, you should also remember that to prevent gout attacks, you need to avoid eating foods high in purines, which increase uric acid levels. Examples of these foods include: organ and red meats, meat extract, shellfish, anchovies, fish roes, herring, sardines in oil, legumes, mushrooms, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus. In addition, as part of your hypertension diet, you need to make sure you reduce your sodium intake.

- Limit alcohol intake - Alcohol constricts the blood vessels and increases the production of uric acid. Therefore, alcohol should ideally be avoided. However, if you want to have a drink, men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should have no more than one. One drink is equivalent to one glass of wine, a regular bottle/can of beer or one shot (measure) of spirits.

- Lose weight - If you are overweight or obese, you are putting your body under stress and increasing your risk of suffering from both gout and hypertension. However, it is important that you lose weight at a slow and balanced pace by adopting a lifestyle change that eases you into exercise and a beneficial diet plan. Do not attempt to lose weight quickly through crash diets, as this can actually lead to an acute attack of gout. Talk to your doctor before making any significant lifestyle changes.

- Quit smoking - Smoking affects blood circulation, damages arteries, and slows the healing process. These are all important functions needed to prevent gout and maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

- Reduce stress - Stress is hard on both your physical and mental state. Stress can repeatedly elevate blood pressure by encouraging the nervous system to produce large quantities of vasoconstricting hormones. Find ways to relax such as taking a bath, reading, listening to music, getting a massage, etc.

Finally, you need to talk to your doctor if you suffer from either gout or hypertension before taking any medications to treat either condition. The reason is certain drugs may benefit one condition, but make the other worse. For instance, diuretics ("water pills") are a common medication prescribed for hypertension treatment, but can cause gout attacks in some people, or make gout worse in individuals who already have the condition. Thus, make sure you consult with your doctor and seek advice prior to beginning any treatment.
About the Author
Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell's brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you discover more about your gout hypertension risk.
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