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 15 years now, it can be quite a “pain in the toe” in having to deal with this disease or disorder if you prefer.
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, living with this disease. I remember I was given the drug Colchicine and Allopurinol and was told by my doctor 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. I rebelled against my doctor’s demands and had become my own doctor, struggling to battle and overtake this disease by experimenting with my prescription drug dosage and eating habits more importantly but to no avail. All I got was more gout attacks.
I’ve bought pill cutters slicing my Allopurinol daily intake to 100 mg and then down to 50 mg without my doctor’s consent, I’ve even stopped it completely thinking I had it beat a couple times with good dieting, only to get an attack and go back to the drawing board trying to figure out what I did wrong, what foods I ate the last several days, what did I drink the last few days and have noticed whenever I get an attack, alcoholic beverages came into play the past few days.
That is my personal gout trigger. Even a glass of wine with my meal but usually I had 2-4 days of drinking a couple of beers, then the next day a glass of wine, nothing like a drinking binge with friends at the local bar or anything like that; just a couple of drinks did the trick for me to get a painful gout attack in my right toe and 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. 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” may be causing so many health problems for us today. Here’s a great explanation from some fellow at wiki.answers.com:
“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 may cause gout. The hyperuricaemia and the fact that the joints produce uric acid crystals do not have to be causally related. I’d say they’re not.”
Furthermore, a study published in 2008 by the British Medical Journal found that men who drank 2 or more soft drinks each day carried an 85% higher risk of developing gout than men who drank less than 1 soda a month. So the correlation between soft drinks and gout is very strong my fellow gout sufferer.
There is public enemy #1, sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Makes sense, cause whenever I a had a gout attack, I’d have a few Jack Daniels whisky and Cokes a few hours before. But everybody is different for 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 may have 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 has seen a steady increase.
I still take my allopurinol dose every day now at 100 mg to play it safe but I’ve found the right diet plan to keep those uric acid levels low through tons of blood experiments with my body and unfortunately I’ve discovered that since I also suffer from minor thalassemia, I am more prone to higher uric acid levels than the average person without any other conditions. Obviously this is something that is genetic and hard to beat by diet alone for me that is but for you it could be a whole different story.
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. At the end, the end result is to finally defeat it and live a healthy life without this disorder.
I hope you enjoy this blog!