Arthritis affects many seniors. You may not have heard of one form of arthritis known as gout. Your dad’s just been diagnosed with gout. What does that mean?
Gout is a type of arthritis that typically starts in one joint and may or may not spread. It’s caused by a build-up of uric acid within the body. The joint of the big toe is the most common area for gout to target. It can make it impossible for a person to walk, wear socks and shoes, or even sleep with blankets or sheets.
There’s no cure for gout. This form of arthritis may worsen at times and improve at others. The periods of remission may last for days, weeks, months, or even years. Your dad may think he’s beaten gout, only to have another flare-up hit and make it impossible to remain mobile.
What Can Trigger Gout?
While gout has no cure, there are things that may trigger gout to flare up. These include being overweight, having certain chronic conditions, or using certain medications. Your dad’s diet may cause flare-ups. A diet rich in purines like prunes, organ meats, and some seafood can trigger flare-ups. Alcohol consumption is another trigger.
How Do You Treat a Gout Flare-Up?
Pain management is the key to treating gout. NSAIDs such as Advil are commonly used. Some prescription anti-inflammatory drugs may also be offered. Your dad’s doctor will tell him to avoid triggers, too. He needs to avoid red meat, organ meats, and fatty fish like anchovies, sardines, and tuna.
If your dad is overweight, he needs to lose some weight. He also needs to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. If he’s on diuretics, he should talk to his doctor about them. Diuretics are one of the medications that can trigger gout flare-ups.
Daily exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, is ideal for helping to lose weight. With exercise and a diet rich in lean proteins, vegetables, and grains, your dad will be on the right path to weight loss. When gout pain is present, he may find activities like strength training, chair yoga, and rowing machines are easier to manage.
When the pain from gout makes it hard for your dad to keep up with activities of daily living, hire a home care professional to help. Elder care services like laundry, meal preparation, and light housework will be a huge help to your dad.
With caregivers, you decide the best schedule and can alter it as needed. Call an elder care agency to find out more about services and pricing.
For elder care in Southern NJ and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.