Spiro Koulouris and his family

Welcome to my blog on GOUT!

My name is Spiro Koulouris and I suffer from gout. Considered one of the most painful of the rheumatic conditions, gout afflicts an estimated 840 out of 100,000 people, accounting for about 5% of all cases of arthritis. As a gout sufferer for over 10 years now, it can be quite a “pain in the toe” in having to deal with this disease.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with it, how shocked and stressed I was, thinking my doctor had made a grave mistake and that I needed a second opinion. Then reality sunk in and my new life began, learning to live with this disease. I remember I was given the drug Colchicine and Allopurinol and was told by my doctor that I had to take them for the rest of my life.

I recall the diarrhea the Colchicine gave me, a few times a day and then stopping to take it and telling my doctor that I’ll only stick to Allopurinol 200mg a day. At first he wanted me to take colchicine every day as well and for life! Since then I’ve spoken to many doctors and done tons of research on the subject about dieting and changing one’s lifestyle. I was motivated to change my bad habits. Obviously, it was hard. Really hard. I stumbled many times but as you begin to take action you’ll notice how your focus and discipline gradually improves. Day by day. Month by month and year after year.

Now since implementing my gout diet and changing my bad lifestyle habits, I only take 100 mg of allopurinol a day and no colchicine. Yes my uric acid has improved tremendously and so can yours if you follow a strict diet.

One observation I’ve had is whenever I got a gout attack in the past, alcoholic beverages came into play the past few days. Alcohol is my personal gout trigger. I remember drinking lots of Jack Daniels and Cokes the night before and coming home to sleep only to be awoken by a painful and crippling gout attack.

After that initial attack I got some other attacks a few months later. I was purposely not taking my pills cause I thought I had this under control but boy was I wrong. I remember having my wife yelling at me “You don’t take your pills…What are you, your own doctor?…You like to suffer like that?….Spiro I can’t see you like this!…” and so on. Psychologically it screws with your mind, being so young and having to deal with this handicap by walking with a cane and limping in embarrassment, having to explain yourself to family and friends what gout is and how you got it. Learn from me. Take your pills.

Makes you feel defeated, having friends tell you: “You got rich man’s disease Spiro, cut the burgers and Coke!” It’s true when I got my first gout attack I was 240 pounds, about 50 pounds overweight for a 5’11 guy, eating Big Macs, lots of fries and loved to drink a can of Coca-Cola in the afternoons so the caffeine and sugar can wake me up at work for the final stretch of the day. Little did I know by drinking that can of Coca-Cola, I was swallowing about 9 teaspoons of sugar (about 39 grams), the entire recommended daily sugar intake for men in one day!!!

Many doctors and health practitioners have recently studied and concluded how “fructose corn syrup” is causing so many health problems to us today. Here’s a great explanation from some fellow at wiki.answers.com that I found very interesting:

Gout is triggered by the presence of crystals of uric acid in your joints. It extremely painful. Many people with gout have high levels of uric acid in their blood stream. Oddly enough some people with gout do not have high levels of uric acid in their blood. Dig deeper.

Fructose is an unusual sugar for humans to eat. We have no system to break down fructose polymers. The only sources of fructose we can use are the simple sugar in fruit or honey and as the molecule combined with glucose as sucrose, ie table sugar. Drenching your metabolism with fructose is a recent innovation for humans. The current preferred sweetener for soft drinks is “high fructose corn syrup”, a product of our dearly beloved food industry in the last thirty years or less.

What happens when you drench you metabolism with fructose? It enters the metabolic pathway of carbohydrate below its main control step and is immediately converted to fructose-1-phosphate. Quite why evolution has arranged things this way is a mystery, but my suspicion is that evolution does not like free fructose in human metabolism. So drinking a small bucket of cola will put 100gm of fructose in to your liver. This will require a large input of phosphate to for the fructose-1-phosphate, leaving very little for the generation of adenosine tri phosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of our cells. A lack of ATP triggers activity of the degradation system for adenine and the production of, guess what, uric acid! Gout, and not a serving of kidneys in sight. Until 100 years ago only the rich could afford enough sugar to get gout, now it is a feature of metabolic syndrome and available to all.

Incidentally the fructose has to be “put” somewhere, and that is in to fat for storage, via elevated triglyceride levels in the blood. It causes insulin resistance too. Even the full metabolic syndrome!

In fact, probably the truth is that fructose causes insulin resistance, which causes gout. The hyperuricemia and the fact that the joints produce uric acid crystals do not have to be causally related. I’d say they’re not.

There is public enemy #1, alcohol and sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. It’s a tie! Makes sense cause whenever I had a gout attack, I’d have a few Jack Daniels whisky and Cokes a few hours before. But everybody is different from what I’ve researched. Gout sufferers all over the world get their attacks eating and drinking different foods & beverages but a common denominator that I’ve noticed from other sufferers is high fructose corn syrup has caused a lot of damage to kidneys around the world and is the main culprit in this escalating problem where men and women diagnosed with gout have seen a steady increase in the past few years.

So welcome, feel free to comment, explore, experiment and tell us your story about living with gout. What triggers it for you, what successes you’ve achieved with your health, what failures have you learned from; I don’t pretend to know everything and be an expert in gout, so if you have some knowledge about a certain subject on gout, feel free to share it here and debate with each other in the pursuit of knowledge about this disease.

While you are reading about different remedies, please note that there are many remedies that can help control gout but not everyone will respond exactly the same to any given treatment, our bodies and DNA are all different and this will depend on the person’s condition and physical constituents. Some remedies may work on certain people, while other remedies may work for others. At the end, the end result is to control your gout and live a healthy life.

I hope you enjoy this blog!

 

Spiro Koulouris