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Gout: What Is It? & What are its Natural Remedies?

Gout: What Is It? & What are its Natural Remedies?

Gout is a medical condition characterized by abnormal metabolism of uric acid. This causes arthritis in the smaller bones of the feet and deposition of chalk-stones with episodic acute pains in the bones.

In gout condition, the body produces an excess amount of uric acid that gets deposited in the bones and tissues. People with gout condition have inadequate kidneys that couldn’t process the uric acid easily. Despite a long history, the gout condition has become more common, with more people falling victim to it.

It is important to understand that in case of gout, there are some gout dietary restrictions that one needs to follow. Some foods may not be recommended or should be avoided from the diet. Keeping these points in mind, one can effectively find relief from gout-related pain and inflammation.

Gout: What are the causes?

A gout attack strikes with excruciating pain and usually it targets the larger joint of the big toe. The whole area around the larger joint swells up and turns red. And even the lightest pressure on it becomes intolerable.

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A complex type of arthritis, gout culminates from high levels of uric acid in the blood. This condition is called hyperuricemia. Normally, uric acid gets dissolved in the blood and the kidney eliminates it. However, at times the body fails to process the uric acid. This could be for two reasons, either the body is producing excessive uric acid, or is unable to excrete it totally with urine. As a result, uric acid gets accumulated in crystal forms in the joints and neighboring tissues, leading to painful inflammation.

The possibility of suffering from hyperuricemia, and gout depends on numerous factors, such as:

Weight: With increase in weight, the body tissues in turn produce more uric acid as metabolic waste product. Also, fat cells produces cytokines, which leads to inflammation of the tissues.

Genetically prone: Gout runs in some families as a hereditary medical condition. In such cases, the probability of developing gout is quite high.

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Gender and age: Comparatively, uric acid is produced more in men than women. However, after menopause, women also acquire the same level of uric acid as in men.

Lead exposure: Gout could be developed from regular exposure to lead too. According to a Stanford study, 95% of the lead get stored in your bone and teeth, “bone seeker” the term given by toxicologists.[1]

Medications and other health problems: A few medications which include diuretics and salicylate can also aid in increasing the uric acid level in the blood. Health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and hypothyroidism can also contribute to the development of gout condition.

Natural Home Remedies To Relieve Gout Pain

More often than not, gout pain hits at night. And if one doesn’t have the medication to take care of it, then it could be one long, extremely painful night. So, to avoid such situations, here are a few natural remedies to soothe the pain that could come handy.

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Apple Cider Vinegar: This salad seasoning and common household cleanser could be used to relieve gout pain. The acetic acid present in the vinegar helps in cutting down the pain. Add some honey to reduce the inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey and water, drink the remedy two to three times a day for best results.

Baking Soda: The main factor resulting in gout is uric acid, and baking soda has the potential to decrease its amount in the body. Simply add 1/2 a tablespoon of baking soda in water and drink at least four times a day but not more than that. Do not take this remedy if you suffer from hypertension.

Lemon juice: Take lemons or any fruit which is rich in vitamin C. They work in reducing the amount of uric acid as vitamin C alkalizes the body. You can either consume lemon juice with a glass of water three times a day, or mix it with 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, let the fizzing settle and then mix it with water. Drink it immediately.

Ginger root: Owing to its inflammatory properties, ginger root is quite helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. It can be administered in a number of ways to relieve gout pain. You can topically apply a paste of ginger root with water on the affected area for about 1/2 an hour daily. You can also drink a solution of fenugreek powder, turmeric powder and dried ginger root powder twice daily: add 1/2 tablespoon of ginger root powder to a cup of water and boil it well before consumption. Or simply eat a piece of raw ginger root daily.

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Epsom salt: Epsom salt has a high magnesium amount, and magnesium helps in lowering blood pressure levels. Take a bucket of warm water, add epsom salt and dip the affected areas in it. You will feel instant relief from pain and inflammation.

Fruits like, cherries, apples, and bananas: Cherries have antioxidant properties, like anthocyanins, which aids in reducing sudden gout outbursts and swelling. You can either eat 15 to 20 cherries daily, or drink black cherry juice with small pieces of garlic cloves for the best results. Apples have abundant malic acid, which is also helpful in reducing the uric acid contained in the body. So, eat one apple a day to keep the uric acid level in check.

On the other hand, bananas are rich potassium, and potassium has the ability to liquidize the uric acid crystals. Thus, it will help in easy discharging with urine. Eating at least two bananas is recommended for gout condition.

In addition to the above mentioned remedies, you can also do exercises, reduce the alcohol consumption and caffeine intakes, avoid purine rich foods like organ meats, sardines, and anchovies, which can increase uric acid level. Hydration is also quite important in treating gout condition. Drink lots of water and juices that include beet, pineapple, etc. Eliminating sugar and soda from the diet should also help.

And lastly, we have activated charcoal, which supposedly absorbs uric acid. You can either apply a paste of charcoal powder mixed with water to the affected area or dip the gout attacked areas in hot water with 1/2 a cup of charcoal powder in it.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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