If you suffer with gout (a form of inflammatory arthritis), you'll know how painful the condition can be. Most people who have an attack will have another within a year or two but there are things you can do - and avoid doing - that will help.
DON'T: Eat foods high in purine
Eliminate red meat, offal, game, oily fish, seafood and foods containing meat and yeast extract from your diet, including Marmite, Bovril, commercial gravy and beer. These are all high in the chemical involved in the production of uric acid. Some vegetables are high in purines too - notably asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, baked beans, kidney beans, and peas. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks, as these have also been inked to an increased risk of gout.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help. Try low-impact exercise that doesn't put too much strain on your joints, such as swimming. If you need to lose weight, don't go on a crash diet and steer clear of high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight loss plans.
During a gout attack, it can help to apply an ice pack to the affected joint. Never apply ice directly to the skin (wrap some frozen peas in a towel) and don't be tempted to leave it there for more than 20 minutes at a time. If the heat and swelling doesn't improve, wait until your skin has returned to a normal temperature before you apply it again.
DON'T: Wait to take your medication
If your doctor has prescribed you medication, take it the moment your gout flares up. It may take two to three days to take effect, so the sooner you take it, the sooner you'll feel the benefit.
DON'T: Try to struggle on
When you get an attack of gout, it's important to rest up and keep the limb elevated. Don't try to carry on as normal - knocking the affected limb can cause more pain and damage.
DON'T: Go thirsty
Make sure you have a bottle or jug of water within easy reach. Staying well hydrated will reduce the risk of crystals forming in your joints, so keep sipping during the day. It should go without saying, but don't be tempted to drink alcohol, as this can dehydrate you, and avoid beer and spirits in particular.
Three products that may be of interest:
Gout Be Gone - The Ultimate Gout Cookbook, £6.26
Walk Off The Pounds With Lorraine Kelly DVD, £3.75
Pro Fitness Dual Hydraulic Rowing Machine, £73.09