Home remedies for gout have been around for hundreds of years. Just about every treatment from herbs to heat packs has been tried in relieving the pain and swelling gout causes in the lower joints of the body. One particular mineral that has gained some notoriety lately is calcium. The effects of calcium, which when taken in moderate amounts can have an overall positive effect on the body, are being cited in anecdotal evidence as a way to combat some of the symptoms of gout.
Unfortunately, while calcium should be consumed on a daily basis, there is no solid evidence that shows it has any real effect on the symptoms of gout. In fact, consuming too much calcium can lead to a condition known as pseudo-gout, where calcium deposits form in the joints and create symptoms similar to attacks of gout in the body. Unlike gout, excessive calcium cannot be directly treated and this can lead to frequent flare ups which may require prescription medication to control.
Gout itself is caused by too much uric acid in the bloodstream. The kidneys, which normally filter out uric acid along with other waste products, are not able to remove all of the uric acid for a variety of reasons. In this case, the excessive uric acid then drifts downward in the body and settles in the joints of the feet, ankles and knees. Although gout has been know to affect other joints in the body on rare occasions, usually joints that have been injured such as the shoulder, elbow and fingers.
Once the uric acid gathers in the joints it begins to crystallize. This process of hardening results in the joints becoming inflamed and swelling occurs. This swelling is often accompanied by a great deal of pain. Attacks of gout generally last from five to ten days in most cases and will reoccur on a fairly frequent basis.
One way to help combat the effects of gout is by drinking more water to help dilute the uric acid in the bloodstream. This allows the kidneys to filter out even more acid and thus help prevent or at least reduce the effects of gout. Combined with a healthy diet which includes calcium and exercise to keep the joints flexible, this method has proven effective in reducing the attacks of gout and even preventing gout from occurring, although there is no known cure.
While calcium has not shown itself to be an effective form of combating gout, your physician does have several prescribed drugs that can significantly reduce the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream which will help fight the severity of the attacks of gout. Before taking any new substance or treatment, be sure to consult with your physician first.
Calcium is an important part of the diet and should be consumed regularly to keep bones healthy and strong. It is important to find the right balance of consuming enough calcium per day while maintaining a healthy diet is important in the overall battle against the effects of gout.