At first glance, you might not be so quick to associate diabetes, a metabolic disease, with gout, a form of arthritis. However, while these two conditions have different causes and symptoms, they also share many similarities as well. Although having one doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop the other, the two conditions share many of the same risk factors. They also share many of the same remedies—strategies for managing diabetes can also be quite effective at reducing or preventing gout pain, and vice versa.
How Gout and Diabetes Are Related
Gout is a form of arthritis that usually attacks your big toebut can appear in other joints too. What happens is that your body has trouble breaking down the purines in food, leading to extra uric acid in your blood. This can end up forming tiny sharp crystals that lodge in your joint, causing irritation, inflammation, and severe pain.
Diabetes is also an inability of your body to process food. In this case, it cannot produce enough insulin to efficiently process starches and sugars, and you end up with glucose levels that are too high. This can damage your blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues and bones, leading to things like poor circulation, neuropathy, and collapse of your foot structure. Chances of a heart attack, stroke, or problems with your eyes are greatly increased with this disease as well.
Both conditions can have hereditary factors that lead to problems, and both can also be aggravated by certain medications. Both gout and diabetes occur more often in people with unhealthy lifestyles. Here are some things you can do to lessen your risks for these diseases:
Watch What You Eat
Thanks to ongoing diabetes education, you may know that eating lots of carbs and drinking sugary drinks can do a number on your blood sugar level, but did you know alcohol and sweetened drinks can also bring on a gout attack? Eating a lot of animal meats and shellfish can be triggers for a painful episode as well. Learn what raises your blood sugar and what triggers your gout flares, and avoid them as much as possible.
Get Your Exercise
Being overweight or obese, not exercising, and having hypertension or high cholesterol levels all increase your chances of suffering fluctuating sugar levels that wreak havoc on your body. Exercising helps you lose weight and improves your circulation and glucose tolerance—both of which benefit diabetic patients. It also helps reduce your uric acid level, a plus for gout sufferers. You should try for 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. If you need suggestions for exercising with gouty toes or diabetic sores on your feet, give our office a call.
Cut Out Alcohol – Especially Beer and Spirits
Drinking even two glasses of beer a day can greatly increase your risk of a gout attack, and will likely raise your sugar levels in a hurry. If you do without, you will have the added benefit of weight loss, which is a plus if you have diabetes. While you are at it, cut out sugary drinks as well. Substitute lots of water and you will experience other health benefits as well. Making an effort to drink low-fat dairy products every day have been shown to reduce the chances of getting both gout and diabetes.
Get Help Managing Your Condition
If you are experiencing a painful gout attack in your feet, or have ongoing sugar control problems that are affecting your foot health, contact Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates and let us help heal your feet. We provide expert wound care for diabetic feet and can help you control gout pain with medication and other remedies. Call us at one of our five locations in eastern Florida today.