I rarely heard patients say that when I first started in practice in the fall of 1988. Now I hear it twice a week.
Gout, as most of you know by now, is a painful inflammatory condition of the joints. A type of arthritis that often attacks the big toe. But it can attack any joint and often attacks many joints at once leading to swelling, redness and pain. These painful attacks can happen quickly and often occur at night.
You “get the gout” when the uric acid levels in your blood get too high and so the body crystallizes it and dumps it into your joints...ouch. This particular miserable condition is caused by poor lifestyle choices, so if you caused it …you can fix it. It’s really a more accurate statement to say I gave myself gout. So now the question is, how did I give myself gout, and what do I do to get rid of it? Well, truth of the matter is that if you have gout, you’ve been putting too many purines into the diet, so here’s a short but pretty comprehensive list of things in the diet that are high in purines.
1. Fish like salmon, tuna, cod, and herring all are high in purines. Did you know towns with an economy based on fishing have much higher rates of gout?
2. Alcohol is high in purines. Beer in particular as well as hard alcohol are highest, and one drink daily increases your risk of gout by 50 percent.
3. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes you to lose water from the body. Unfortunately if you become dehydrated, you’re much more likely to have the uric acid crystallize in the joints.
4. Animal organ meats like kidney and liver are high in purines.
5. Red meat is relatively high in purines.
6. Fried foods often trigger gout.
7. Drinking soda. Studies show a direct correlation between increased fructose sugar intake and gout. Most pop is sweetened with fructose corn syrup.
8. Rich sauces, which are usually high in fat, can trigger gout. Gout used to be thought of as a rich man’s disease because of the high fat cuisine diets only the rich could afford. Now we all have too much fat in the diet.
9. Shellfish have moderate purine levels, but eating them daily along with all the other purine intake can trigger gout easily. I kinda think of shellfish as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Too much caffeine, alcohol and soda pop and you’re already loaded with purines…and then you eat some shrimp or scallops…Yikes.
10. Fruit juice, which is sweetened with fructose sugar, is a common trigger. One study found that women who drink high fructose liquids had a 74 percent higher risk of gout.
In conclusion, I would tell you to look at the list, and ask yourself, how much of this stuff are you taking in on a daily basis? To rid yourself of the gout, you need to clean up your diet. Yes, the doctor can give you some colchicine to reduce the pain, but as many gout sufferers know, the pills don’t always work that well. I use many plants in the office to help reduce pain, and they often work but always I tell patients it’s about the diet.
Yours in health,
If you have any questions or suggestions for future topics, feel free to email Dr. Grondin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call his office at 810-984-3344.
Dr. Timothy Grondin started his career as a medic (corpsman) in the Navy where he examined, diagnosed and treated people for minor illnesses under the direction of an M.D. When Grondin left the military, he became a nurse and worked on the medical/surgical ward at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital for a number of years. Though he began taking pre-med courses at Oakland University, Grondin changed his mind, choosing to become a chiropractor instead. Grondin graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1988 and has been in practice in Port Huron since 1989.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to either directly or indirectly diagnose, give medical advice or prescribe treatment. Please consult with your physician or other licensed healthcare professional for medical diagnosis and treatment.