Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs more in men than women. It occurs when uric acid crystals build up in and around the joints causing tremendous pain. Typically, the joint in the big toe is the one most affected by a gout flare-up.
When he’s dealing with a flare-up, your dad can’t walk around much. Doing things like carrying the laundry downstairs, taking a walk, or putting on shoes seems impossible. You want to help him avoid these flare-ups. Have you considered looking at his diet?
He Needs to Avoid Foods High in Purine
Uric acid crystals form as your dad’s body breaks down the purine found in foods. If he lowers his intake of these foods, it can help lessen the flare-ups.
- Fruits – Fruits are essential to the diet, but some are linked to increasing the risk of a gout attack. It’s often the fruits with higher fructose levels, such as apples, grapes, and dates. Cherries have been found to help with gout flare-ups, so it’s often recommended to keep fresh cherries on hand for snacks.
- Processed Foods – Processed foods that are high in sugar can lead to too much purine. If your dad likes to eat packaged granola bars, cookies, doughnuts, cakes, brownies, high-sugar fruit juices, or breakfast cereals, he needs to stop.
- Proteins – Your dad should avoid specific proteins that have higher levels of purine. This includes shellfish like mussels and lobster, organ meats like chicken livers, and red meat. Processed meats like bacon, deli meat, ham, and smoked sausages are also good ones to avoid.
In addition to those foods, your dad needs to limit his intake of alcoholic beverages. If he can’t live without a drink sometimes, wine is often a better choice than beer for people with gout.
Ideally, your dad wants a diet that balances his intake of whole grains, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins. If he finds fish doesn’t lead to flare-ups, fish is one of the best options. It can be a trial and error situation as some foods increase flare-ups in some people and not others.
Have Elder Care Helping When Gout Attacks Hit
When gout pain flares up, your dad could use a helping hand with housework and meal preparation. Your dad may not need caregivers every week, but elder care is beneficial when he struggles with mobility due to the pain in his big toes. Call an elder care agency and ask about respite care services.