Gout attacks and stress. How on earth are they related? Here, we’re going to examine the relationship between gout and stress…
Gout and Stress
Since gout is caused by high uric acid levels as a result of your metabolism, and stress is known to increase your body’s metabolism, then when your stress increases, more uric acid is produced, thus triggering a gout attack.
However, there’s a double whammy because, not only does stress lead to an increase in uric acid, it also hinders its removal from the body as vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – an important player in uric acid excretion – is depleted when you’re stressed.
It’s well known that stress can trigger gout. So it makes sense then, if you’re a gout sufferer, to do all that you can to reduce your daily stress levels in order to help prevent gout attacks.
Ways to Reduce Stress
Please do not underestimate the role stress plays in elevating the risk of gout flares. Do all you can to reduce the stress in your life.
There are many ways to help you do this, including the following:
Under normal circumstances the oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bodies is kept in balance by normal, correct breathing.
But when we are stressed, we tend to breath more quickly and shallowly, which knocks the ratio out of balance. And when we do this we actually make our stress even worse, perhaps even to having a panic attack.
Deep, controlled breathing is a well known way to help reduce stress by re-balancing your oxygen and carbon dioxide. The key point is to ensure that you breathe using your diaphragm (abdomen) as well as your chest cavity. Breathe slowly and evenly making sure when you inhale that you inflate your abdomen and flatten it when you exhale.
People who regularly use this method say they feel much less anxiety and stress, feel more alive, have much more energy, and need less sleep, than before they started meditating. The problem is that many people (most even?) find the whole idea of meditation disconcerting. But if it gets the job done, why not give it a go? You can learn how to do it yourself from books, etc., but you’re best to seek out a meditation teacher in your local area.
Here is an exercise to help you relax and relieve stress:-
- Get comfortable in a room / place where you won’t be disturbed by people or noise. Your bedroom is ideal.
- Either lie flat on your bed, or, recline in a comfortable chair.
- Close your eyes and start to slow your breathing down. Inhale through your nose for a count of two. Make sure your abdomen is inflated as above.
- Breathe out through your mouth for a count of four, ensuring your get all the air out of your abdomen.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for, say, 2 minutes.
- Then starting with an arm, and concentrating on each part of your body in turn, consciously relax each set of muscles, making them feel heavier and heavier, so that the stress just flows away. For example, begin with your left arm, then the right, your face, neck, shoulders, etc.
These are just three of the measures you can take to help relieve your stress and prevent gout attacks. Other things are; regular exercise, don’t take your work problems home with you, make sure you take regular vacations, and so on.
And take a look at this video on managing stress…