Right now, I’ve got gout. It hurts and it’s painful. This latest episode started mid June (it’s mid august) and it’s been off and on for two months.
This post is not a normal topic for me since I blog exclusively about marketing, but I’m so frustrated trying to figure out what caused this latest episode that I figured I’d reach out to my regular readers for advice.
I could use your help. At the same time I figured I may be able to help others who are suffering from gout by sharing my story.
About 6 years ago, I walked into a doctors office thinking that I’d broken my toe. The doctor diagnosed me with gout. I was 31 at the time.
Over the last six years, I would say that the duration of each attack has lengthened and they have become increasingly difficult to get under control. At first, they would last 2 or 3 days and were quickly treated with anti-inflammatories. In the first three years, I may have gotten 2 or 3 attacks. In the last 3 years, I probably am getting 2 or 3 per year. This latest episode has been with me on and off for nearly 2 months.
I’ve seen at least 3 doctors for this, one naturopath and a chinese medicine doctor. In addition to what they told me here is what I’ve learned about the treatment and prevention of Gout.
1. Stay Hydrated: when I’ve been dehydrated after drinking or exercise or just not consuming enough water, I’m nearly guaranteed to get an attack
2. Cheese: for me it seems that have a high sensitivity to cheese. If I were to eat a few slices of pizza, there’s a high likelyhood that my feet will swell the next day. Buffalo Mozzarella seems particularily bad. Strangely, goat cheese doesn’t seem to have the same effect. I discovered my cheese sensitivity last year by running an experiment on myself. I basically ate salads for about two weeks. every 3 days, I’d add in one purine rich food and eat only that type of food + salad for the next 3 days. So it looked like this
3 days – Salad + fruits
3 days – Salad + Fruits + chicken
3 days – Salad + Fruits + Beef
3 days – Salad + Fruits + cheese
3. Uric Acid: When uric acid levels are high, they can form crystals which I’m told fall to the feet because of gravity. When the crystals lodge themselves in the joints, you get inflammation. The build up of uric acid seems to be caused by either poorly functioning kidneys or over-consumption of purine rich foods. Purine is converted by the body into uric acid. What I don’t understand is if I’m limiting my purine intake, is it possible that my body just produces more uric acid than others?
4. Purines: There are a lot of conflicting reports and studies about which types of foods to avoid. Generally the main culprits are things like Alcohol, Red Meat, Anchovies, Shell fish, Dark green veggies ie. Spinach, high fat foods and fried foods. Not all foods that are high in purines cause gout for me. This is the really frustrating part. I don’t know what I did wrong over this past week, but my toe and ankle flared up and I’d actually improved my diet over the last week because I was trying to get rid of a “tight” feeling in my feet. Go figure. I just read that the liver produces 70-90% of the purines in our body so the food intake may have an effect but mostly it appears to be genetic.
5. Traditional Meds: For episodes, I take a NSAID and cholchicine. The physician I saw yesterday gave me a prescription for Allopurinol which is a daily pill that I will start taking once this episode goes away. Allopurinol is supposed to be a preventative medication that should decrease the frequency of these attacks.
7. Diet: Rather than talking about foods to avoid, here’s a list of low purine foods that seem to either help or prevent gout. Not included on this list are the “cold foods” that my traditional chinese medicine doctor told me to eat. I’ve included a link at the bottom of the page.
Last night, I spoke with an MD about how long it takes for food to have an effect on my gout. He thought that most nutrients would be absorbed within 3-6 hours and completely eliminated from my body within 3 days. In his opinion, the effect of high purine foods should be relatively immediate – usually within a day.
Low fat yogurt
low fat milk
Low fat cheese
Most Fruit & juice
Most veggies (except mushrooms and dark green veggies)
White and Brown bread
Nuts & peanut butter
lettuce (not spinach)
Here are some other links
Foods Ranked by Purine Content – http://www.acumedico.com/purine.htm
Fish in Gout Diets? http://www.best-gout-remedies.com/diet-for-gout-patients.html
Uric Acid management – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003476.htm
Dietary Principles of Chinese Medicine – http://www.comoxvalleyacupuncture.com/recommend.html
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