What do Sir Isaac Newton, Beethoven, Leonardo DaVinci, Dick Cheney, Kim Jong-Un, Jim Belushi and Bob Posner all have in common? They all suffer(ed) from GOUT. About 4% of the U.S. population suffers from gout and for anyone out there that has an experienced an attack, you know just how bad the pain can be. Gout is about 4X more common in men than in women. Being overweight/obese increases the chances of developing gout by 10-fold.
Gout is due to the buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, with the great toe being the most common joint involved. When uric acid crystalizes, this produces an intense inflammatory reaction in the affected joint(s). Swelling, redness and intense pain develop. The severity of pain can reach the point where the impacted person cannot even tolerate a bedsheet touching the area.
Foods high in purine levels can trigger gout attacks. These foods include organ meats, other red meats, shell fish, processed foods and sugary sodas and desserts. Alcohol intake also is associated with an increase in risk of a gout flareup. Fruits such as cherries organs and other Vitamin C containing fruits will help lower uric acid levels. Drinking lots of water also helps “flush” the system.
Medications that can be used to reverse an acute gout attack include non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Indocin, Motrin and Naprosyn. Oral steroids such as prednisone can be very impactful in helping get rid of gout attacks. Colchicine helps reduce inflammation but diarrhea often will prevent continued usage. Allopurinol is used chronically to lower serum uric acid levels.
Complications of gout may include the development of very painful kidney stones, joint deformities and heart disease.
Shedding weight will lower the chances of developing gout and for those with gout, weight loss will significantly lower the amount and severity of episodes. Yet another reason to lose that weight and keep it off!
Here is a ridiculous song fitting today’s entry: “The Gout Song”