Can stress actually cause a gout attack?
Stress has been around since the beginning of man, as long as there is uncertainty there will be stress unfortunately and it does produce consequences. Not as much to people who are relatively good health as much as to those who have a disease or a condition already. Stress can be caused by a divorce, employment, altered finances, self-image, depression, accident, disability, social life problems etc…
Unfortunately, stress doesn’t make an exception towards gout sufferers since there seems to be a correlation between stress and gout attacks. This correlation seems more prevalent when stress is long-sustained, meaning it is not a one day stress episode but more long term stress that can harm the gout sufferer by raising his uric acid levels. That is why a gout sufferer must learn to manage their stress cause remember that stress also causes muscle tension and increased pain along with worsening gout symptoms.
What happens when you are stressed is your body depletes the vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid from your body which helps remove excess uric acid from the body. Furthermore, when your body experiences stress, it releases the hormone cortisol which your body needs to regulate energy levels, salt/water balance, protein metabolism, but too much of it can have adverse side effects like muscle breakdown, high blood pressure, increased fat storage and more importantly it reduces your system’s ability to address health situations like your gout. You have to realize that once you are under stress, your body doesn’t function at 100%.
There have been no studies done in regards to gout and stress but studies on arthritis which studied laboratory rats have proven a definite connection between stress and the development of arthritis. Many arthritis patients connect their disease with a stressful incident in their lives which they claim triggered it for them.
Many arthritis patients are prescribed a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, which is closely related to cortisol, as part of their treatment plan. Again opinions in the medical field vary because it is very difficult to prove based on so many different human experiences and responses. Researchers are also hesitant to draw up conclusions for humans based on animal studies.
So how do you avoid or limit your stress?
Exercise, even some moderate exercise like taking a walk will do wonders. Intense or prolonged exercise can increase your cortisol levels besides putting excessive stress on your body; low intensity exercise will actually reduce your cortisol levels. You can even meditate, prayer also helps if you are religious, yoga, practicing relaxation techniques and even talking to a friend or family member about what stresses you.
You can also take B complex vitamins supplement which are effective in regulating stress and keeping cortisol levels in check. Other vitamins that can also help you lower cortisol levels are magnesium and vitamin C; don’t also forget omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil and herbs can reduce cortisol and stress like green tea, valerian and ginseng.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris