Q: I have a question about gout. What is it, how do you get it, and are there any natural cures available? My father and my aunt have it.
A: Gout is a type of arthritis (joint inflammation) caused when crystals of uric acid are deposited in the joints and surrounding tissues.
There is a genetic predisposition to the condition, but it’s often environmental factors that contribute to an exacerbation, and diet is a big part of this, particularly diets rich in purines. Gouty “attacks” can be caused by diets heavy in proteins, fats, alcohols and high-fructose corn syrups, so try to limit your intake.
Tart cherries, celery, and dairy products have been shown to reduce the occurrence of gout.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.