gout flare-ups

  1. New gout 'cure' is a recipe for more pain

    If you think gout is bad, just wait 'til you see the latest "cure."

    This new drug treatment doesn't replace what's already out there. It's in addition to it -- so you have to take both bad meds, doubling your risk of side effects and other problems.

    Let's start with the old bad treatment: allopurinol, a pill that slowly -- very slowly -- lowers levels of the uric acid responsible for gout flare-ups.

    It works so slowly, in fact, that you have to wonder if it even works at all.

    But now, researchers say that adding a new bad treatment to the mix -- weekly injections of the drug rilonacept -- can slash the number of gout outbreaks. In the new study, just 15 percent of patients on the combo experiencing flare-ups over 12 weeks, versus 45 percent of those on just the allopurinol.

    Impressed? Don't be -- and not just because this was a very small study involving only 83 patients, didn't include a true control group of patients who got no treatment or only placebos, and was funded by the drug's maker.

    Don't be impressed because even if it's all true -- even if the rilonacept and allopurinol combo really can lower your risk of gout flare-ups -- the risks are insane.

    Rilonacept suppresses the immune system, putting you at risk for any number of diseases and conditions up to and including cancer. Some studies have found that more than a third of patients on this med can develop infections -- including respiratory and urinary infections.

    Allopurinol on its own is no picnic either: In the months -- yes, months -- it takes for the drug to kick in, it can actually make your gout worse than ever.

    That's more attacks -- and more pain -- caused by the very drug that's supposed to end it.

    And if that's not enough, allopurinol has also been linked to painful urination and blood in the urine, stomach problems, infection-like symptoms and more.

    Who wants to deal with all that? Not me -- and certainly not you.

    Fortunately, in this case you don't have to rely on Big Pharma's non-cures because there are natural solutions for gout out there that don't take months to kick in.

    Some of them work in days or even hours -- like cherries, which can reduce the risk of a gout flare-up by 50 percent within 48 hours. Celery stalks and celery seed extract have also been shown to help slash the risk of a gout attack.

  2. Natural solutions for gout

    Gout used to be known as "the rich man's disease" because it usually struck the wealthy -- the only ones who could afford to over-consume the foods that cause this painful form of arthritis.

    Today, you don't have to be rich (or even a man) to suffer from gout -- just fat. And since more people are fatter than ever before, more people are also battling the foot pain that marks this condition.

    New numbers show that 4 percent -- or 8.3 million Americans -- fought gout in 2008, compared to just 1 percent between 1988 and 1994.

    That's a 400-percent increase inside of a generation -- and in the coming years, it could get even worse. Recent government numbers show 21 percent of us have high levels of the uric acid responsible for gout.

    That's an increase of 700 percent from the surveys taken between 1988 and 1994.

    But whatever you do, don't turn to Big Pharma's solution for gout. Drugs designed to treat the problem have been known to cause nausea, joint pain, and even liver problems. They've also been linked to chest pain, vomiting, bruising, constipation, allergic reactions, and even more gout flare-ups.

    There are better ways to beat gout, and you can get some of the most immediate relief with something that was often dismissed as a folk remedy -- until a recent study found it really worked.

    Researchers say 20 cherries eaten over 48 hours can reduce the risk of a gout attack by 50 percent, while cherry extract slashed the odds by 40 percent. I've noticed cherry juice popping up on supermarket shelves, so feel free to give that a try. Just make sure it's 100 percent cherry juice and not cherry-flavored sugar water.

    If you don't have any cherries handy, try celery. Celery can keep the enzyme that produces uric acid in check, and some people have reported gout relief from as little as a single stalk.

    Others need more -- nearly an entire bunch -- and all the peanut butter in the world won't make it any easier to eat that much. If that's the case, try 75mg of celery seed extract, twice a day, instead.

    You don't have to be rich to get gout. And since celery -- and celery seed -- is cheap and plentiful, you don't have to be rich to beat it, either.

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