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The Queen 'will not spend Christmas alone' says expert

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A painful flare-up of gout is enough to ruin your Christmas. With so many delicious foods on offer, do you know which ones to avoid if you often develop gout attacks? An expert weighs in on how to manage gout and avoid an excruciating flare-up this Christmas.

Christmas is all about enjoying a rich feast of foods lovingly prepared with your nearest and dearest.

But, if you are one of the millions of people in the UK who has gout, amoxicillin dosage for dental infection you may be anxious about how to avoid a painful gout attack this Christmas.

Gout is a form of arthritis which is particularly affected by the foods you eat, and many of the trigger-foods for gout will be decorating the Christmas dinner table.

Versus Arthritis spokesperson Professor Anisur Rahman joined Express.co.uk to explain more about gout, and the risks associated with the condition at Christmas.

Professor Rahman said: “gout is what’s called a crystal arthritis. So what you have to imagine is inside your joint, somebody had scattered crystals like they’d scattered salt inside your joint – imagine how irritating that would be.”

These crystals are made of a substance called urate, and the higher the levels of urate in your body, the more likely a gout attack becomes.

Foods with a reputation for triggering gout flare-ups tend to be high in a substance called purines.

Professor Rahman said: “Purines are a building block for DNA cells, so we definitely need purines, but if we’ve got too much for our needs the purine in the body has to be broken down.

“Purines are eventually broken down into urate, causing gout.”

Which Christmas foods can cause a gout attack?

Many items in your Christmas spread are likely to be high in purines, as they tend to be rich and indulgent foods.

Professor Rahman said: “If you think about famous people we know who had gout, there’s Queen Anne, who was played by Olivia Coleman in the film The Favourite, which has a scene where she’s very stricken by the gout, and there’s King Henry VIII.

“So: fat, royal, very rich, eating lots and lots of red meat, drinking lots and lots of alcohol – that’s the kind of person who in the olden days used to get gout.

“I suppose if you overeat – like a king or queen – eat too much red meat and drink too much alcohol; that’s the kind of thing which might give you an attack of gout if you’re predisposed to it.”

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Foods known to cause gout can include:

  • Offal – Organ meats like kidney and liver
  • Game meat – Pheasant, rabbit, venison
  • Oily fish – Herring, mackerel, anchovies
  • Seafood – Including mussels, crab and shrimp
  • Poultry – Chicken and duck
  • Gravy
  • Yeast extracts
  • All types of alcohol
  • Red meat

In order to avoid a gout flare-up at Christmas, try to limit your intake of these trigger foods, and don’t drink too much alcohol.

It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favourite foods at Christmas, but just try to enjoy them in moderation.

In addition to avoiding trigger foods, make sure you stay well-hydrated too.

If there’s medicine you have been prescribed for your gout, make sure you’re taking it as directed by your doctor.

Professor Rahman said: “If you’re known to have gout, you’ll probably have some medication that you take when the attack comes on.

“I think one of the things is to start taking it as soon as you feel a twinge, don’t wait until you’ve got a really bad attack.

“If you know you’ve got gout, and you think an attack is coming on, then start taking your medication when you feel the first twinge to try and cut the attack off.”

For more information about gout, visit Versus Arthritis www.versusarthritis.org or call their free helpline on 0800 5200 520.

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