Gout is inflammatory arthritis, which manifests as attacks of severe pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, and hotness of the joints, typically of the hands and toes. This inflammation is caused by deposition of uric acids in the joints, and alcohol is one of the factors that can cause this abnormal deposition.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis or joint inflammation characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, and redness in the joints, especially of the feet and toes.
It occurs as a result of uric acid accumulation and deposition in the joints. Uric acid is a product of the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in certain foods, including seafood and red meat.
When uric acid accumulates in the body, it deposits as uric acid crystals in the joints – as well as the kidneys – causing severe inflammation.
Link Between Gout and Alcohol Consumption
One of the risk factors for gout is alcohol consumption. Others include high intake of purine-rich foods and dehydration.
The link between alcohol and gout is that it contains purines – which the body breaks down to uric acid. It also causes the breakdown of genetic materials called nucleotides, which are also sources of purines. In addition, alcohol increases the secretion of uric acid in the body and reduces its excretion through the kidneys.
Does Alcohol Consumption Cause Gout?
Does alcohol cause gout? The short answer is yes.
Although not all persons that consume it develop gout, a high intake significantly raises one’s risk of having it.
With alcohol being a rich source of purines and a stimulant for uric acid production, it will increase the blood level of uric acid in an individual that consumes more than a moderate amount. This, in turn, will cause gout in that individual.
Alcohol Causes Gout Flare-Ups
Does alcohol cause gout flare-ups? Yes, it does trigger attacks or flare-ups of gout. It’s role in uric acid production, and purine metabolism in the body causes a sudden rise in uric acid content in the blood, exacerbating an individual’s symptoms.
A recent study which investigated anecdotal reports of gout flare-ups revealed that alcohol was ten times more likely to cause flare-ups than other factors such as eating red meat or dehydration. This may suggest that of all gout causes, alcohol is one of the most important.
Can an Individual with Gout Drink Alcohol Safely?
Heavy intake of alcohol generally has many complications, including psychological complications such as the negative connection between alcohol and sex drive. Many people may not know that heavy drinking may also cause joint inflammation.
Doctors advise people with gout to ensure low blood uric acid levels. Because of the established connection between alcoholism and gout, one of the ways one can achieve this is by avoiding alcohol.
For patients with gout, doctors may recommend limiting alcohol consumption to moderate levels or completely abstaining from it to reduce the risk and frequency of flare-ups.
Heavy consumption is associated with a significant risk of the disease and flare-ups. In addition, heavy consumption also links alcohol and pancreatitis, among other complications.
One symptom that may occur when one drinks too much in a short period is feeling stomach pain after drinking.
Alcoholic Drinks to Avoid if One Has Gout
It is important to know how alcohol affects gout and what to drink and avoid, as well. Although experts advise that people with gout should limit intake of alcohol regardless of the type, one should also know that these drinks don’t cause or trigger gout attacks equally.
Some drinks are associated with a much higher increase in uric acid accumulation and exacerbation of gout, while others may carry a minimal risk – these ones are the gout friendly alcohols.
So what alcohol can you drink with gout? The answer is the alcohol with low strength, and some wines fall in this group.
Wine is associated with a lower risk of developing gout. However, it can also cause flare-ups just like other types of alcoholic drinks, but to a lower degree. That being said, wine may be considered the best alcohol for gout.
However, one should avoid drinking wine during pregnancy, as it poses a risk of several fetal abnormalities.
Get Help with Alcohol Addiction
Persons who are addicted to alcohol are at a greater risk of the disease and its flare-ups, among other side effects of alcohol use. It is, therefore, necessary for such individuals to seek help with addiction to get better and lower the risk of these complications.
One becomes addicted to it if it’s use and consequences take up a major part of one’s life; disrupting personal and interpersonal relationships, causing financial troubles and legal problems, and interfering with their work.
Alcohol treatment centers provide treatment for addiction to the drug. These facilities have addiction experts who evaluate an individual’s addiction status, initiate treatment programs, and conduct regular therapy sessions for the individual to achieve recovery and sobriety.
Some experts also recommend natural treatment for alcoholism such as nutritional supplementation, nutritional broths, herbs, and holistic medicine practices to keep an alcoholic on a healthy path to recovery.