Fri, Jan 10, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Teens also at risk of gout

By Lin Hui-chin and Dennis Xie  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Gout is not a health issue limited to older people, it can also occur in teenagers, and managing it with diet is not the best option, doctors said.

High uric acid levels in blood, which causes gout, usually peak in men at the age of 16 or 17, and remain unchanged or increase only slightly afterward, Taiwan Rheumatology Association director Tsai Wen-chan (蔡文展) said, adding that there have been cases of gout in teenagers.

Increased risk of obesity from a poor diet and lack of exercise could cause gout in teenagers, and the chance of reoccurrence among gout patients is high at 85 percent, he said.

Some people with gout might believe that changing their diet could cure the disease or they might simply rely on pain killers to manage it without taking other medication, he said.

However, diet affects only 20 percent of uric acid levels, making medical treatment necessary, he added.

The primary treatment for the disease involves using ice packs or anti-inflammatory pills to alleviate pain caused by acute gout attacks, while medication that breaks down uric acid and a healthy lifestyle are needed if levels remain high over the long term, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital rheumatology doctor Yu Kuang-hui (余光輝) said.

A healthy lifestyle includes diet adjustments to avoid food that poses a higher health risk, such as meat, seafood and alcohol, whereas carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and beans are recommended, Yu said.

Drinking enough water and maintaining a healthy body weight are also important, he added.

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