Gout is a form of arthritis and is caused by buildup of uric acid in the blood. This acid forms because of the breakdown of waste substances called purines in the body. These purines are often dissolved in the blood, processed by the kidneys and eventually they are passed through the body in urine. When excessive amounts of uric acid build up, and the kidney isn’t able to process it properly, it tends to hang around in the blood stream and forms razor-like crystals that collect between the spaces in the joints. The pain is not a reaction to the crystals forming, it actually occurs because of the body’s natural defense to the crystals which is to create more blood flow to the affected area, causing an inflammatory response. Hyperuricemia, or the long-term buildup of uric acid in the blood over many years not only leads to gout but may also result in high cholesterol, kidney/heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Research tells us that almost 10% of people with hyperuricemia develop gout at some point in their lifetime (1). There are many different theories on what causes gout, but the most common catalyst seems to be issues in diet and nutrition. The right kind of diet and nutrition includes not only eating foods that limit uric acid build up but also involves hydration, weight management, and the use of anti-inflammatory foods. Symptoms of gout include severe pain that people have often described as a hot burning sensation; it has been described as feeling like the joint is on fire. The affected area can be really sensitive to touch and even the slightest amount of pressure causes severe pain. This pain, or “flare up,” usually appears rapidly and often during the night when you are sleeping. Gout can appear in any joint in the body, but is most commonly found in the big toe. When gout is treated, it often doesn’t last more than 10 days, however if proper action isn’t taken and preventive techniques are not utilized, the pain of gout can reoccur. Severe cases of gout, or cases that return frequently, can eventually do permanent damage to the body. Gout is not an injury-related affliction and usually stems from years of poor nutrition and a high cholesterol diet. The best way to treat gout is to prevent it from occurring in the first place by eating healthier and reducing consumption of foods that contribute to high levels of uric acid in the blood. If you already have a case of gout, the next best option is to treat the affliction in ways that help prevent gout from reoccurring. Here are 5 ways to successfully fight gout by use of natural, proactive treatments.