My 30-year-old son is suffering from severe joint pain and a swollen ankle. His blood test reveals high uric acid level (8.1). What is your advice? Could it be gout?

Gout is characterised by sudden, severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often in the big toe, ankle or knees. Severe pain is often seen at night. Joints get inflamed and become warm, appear red and shiny. Our body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines – substances that are found naturally in your body. Purines are also found in foods, such as steak, meats and seafood, alcoholic beverages, sweetened juices, gravies, liver, sweetbreads, asparagus, beef, cauliflower, lentils, lobster, mushrooms, oatmeal, peas, spinach etc.

High uric acid, once thought of as a ‘rich man’s disease’ (because only the wealthy could afford to eat salted meats and rich breads on a regular basis), is making a comeback due to the increased intake of foods with high purine content.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in our blood and passes through the kidneys into the urine. But sometimes either our body produces too much uric acid or our kidneys excrete too little uric acid.

[Managing kidney issues]

When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needlelike urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.

Some people may be able to lower their uric acid levels through diet alone. Others might need medication or therapies.

Consult an Ayurveda doctor for a detailed diagnosis and treatment plan. Meanwhile you can also ask your son to:

• Drink water boiled with Gokshura seeds (tribulus terrestris)

• Try applying oils like Madhuyashtyadi thailam, Pinda thailam, Murivenna.

• Reduce purine-rich food as well as sour and salty tastes in excess.

DR VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.