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The Diabetes Link

What We Know

There are a number of precursors and indicators for gout - some things we know for sure and some things come as a bit of a surprise. We do know that the primary cause of gout is the build-up of uric acid in the blood stream. Uric acid is also known as urate, a normally harmless waste product resulting from the breakdown of purines in the body. Purines are naturally occurring in the body, and they are also found in certain foods and alcoholic beverages such as beer, stout and port.

We know also that gout is a pretty common condition, a form of inflammatory arthritis, and that it seems to affect men more than women. A gout attack can leave a person in acute pain in a joint in the body - the knee, ankle, elbow or most commonly, the big toe. It's almost impossible to predict an attack of gout and unless you've had blood tests to tell you where your uric acid levels are, you probably won't know you're at risk until it happens.

What We May Not Know

There is, however, a deadly duo which has been associated together for many years - gout and diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which affects the insulin levels in a person. A person with diabetes does not make enough insulin and as a result has to take injections daily to ensure their levels remain constant. Along with this, diabetes has many problematic issues attached to it. Such debilitating diseases as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, eye damage, sexual dysfunction and gangrene, the end result of which is amputation - which in turn is related to poor circulation, are the hallmark of diabetes.

Diabetes causes poor circulation in the lower extremities and results in a build-up of uric acid in the joints. Uric acid is the known cause of gout - so the two diseases end up linked together and the chances of having gout if you've got diabetes are extremely high.

Take Charge and Divert Pain

There are a few things one can do for basic treatment at home to help prevent a gout flare-up. Applying warm wet towels to the affected area helps to open the blood vessels in the feet, increasing the flow of blood. Exercise is another good way to keep the blood moving. However, if you're suffering with gout exercise may be difficult and should be done as a means of prevention. Drinking water - lots of it - has been shown to help with blood flow.

There are also some natural ways to deal with gout through supplements. Herbs and tinctures such as cayenne, which helps with circulation, and ginkgo biloba, which not only helps with circulation but also with strengthening the blood vessels, have been shown to help gout attacks. And, there's always garlic. Garlic increases blood flow, cleans the blood and helps with high blood pressure.

At the end of the day, diabetes and gout are tied together. You may not be able to avoid gout, but you can begin to take preventative measures to keep the pain under control.