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All about gout November 3, 2008

Posted by Fritz in Health.
Tags: , , ,

You just can’t say enough about gout.  There are a lot of other afflictions that get a whole lot more attention and I don’t think that’s right.  Some of the greatest people on earth have suffered its unique brand of torture. Ben Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Galileo Galilei, Kublai Khan of China,  John Milton, Goethe, Martin Luther, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, King Henry VIII of England, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charlemagne to name a few.  I am proud to list myself along side these noble gout sufferers.

For those of you new to gout, it’s an excruciatingly painful inflammation of the joints (usually in the toe, foot or ankle) caused by an excessive amount of uric acid in the blood stream.  This causes crystals to form in the joint which in-turn feels like sand grinding in an open wound. Add ‘hot’ and ‘swelling’ and you have a nifty little gout attack. Nine out of ten sufferers are men.

My first attack was more than 20 years ago at the tender age of 30.  It was miss-diagnosed by the podiatrist as plantar fasciitis.  He prescribed orthotic inserts and sent me on my way. The damn inserts arrived two days after the gout attack had subsided.  My next attack happened a year or so later.  I was in Michigan on vacation.  I had never experienced such pain.  The quick onset scared me into imagining I suddenly had a tumor and was about to die.  Oh, did I mention these attacks almost invariably occur late at night?  Never convenient to regular, doctor’s office hours. This one was no exception and I drove myself, in near blinding pain, to the emergency room. 

As luck would have it, the attending doc happened to be my cousin.  He was moonlighting from his regular gig (as a orthopedic surgeon in South Dakota) in the ER that summer, allowing him to spend more time up at the Lake.  Since it was around 2am in Frankfort, Michigan (a town of 3000) and I knew the Maitre d’, I got a table right away.  Damn good thing too, I was frantic.  Between the pain and the unfounded fear that cancer was raging through my big toe, devouring the bone as I spoke, I was a bit pissy. Dr. Walker (his first name) was happy to see me. Actually he was happy to see anybody.  His last patient had been a drunk bicyclist at 10pm — a rather nasty spill procured a dozen stitches and a tetanus shot.  After exchanging pleasantries, my cousin made a quick diagnosis.

“So how long have you been having gout attacks?” 

“Gout?” I said, certain I had miss heard. 

“Yeah, gout.”

My cousin was already poking through some drawers looking for something.

“Looks like a real doozy of an attack, it’s hot, swollen and you couldn’t put any weight on it when you walked in.” 

I was all at once relieved to hear I didn’t have a tumor running rampant in my big toe and confused as to how it could be gout.  I had always heard it was a rich man’s disease, usually brought on by a corpulent lifestyle.  Dr. Walker had now turned back around from the cabinet he had been occupied with and proudly presented a syringe in one hand and a vile in the other. 

Toradol, 60mg, drop your pants.” 

I started to undo my belt, “How could I have gout? “I thought only fat, old men got it.” 

“Fritzie my boy, it runs in our family.”  “Grandma Grace or Grandpa Fred passed us those genes and you’re the lucky one in your family.” “My brother suffers from it in our family.”  “Oh, and you are old and fat.”  With the timing of a skilled comedian, he stuck me in the right butt cheek.


Since then I have had too many gout attacks to remember.  Some are worse than others, but they all suck.  I have since learned what I should be doing to keep from having the attacks; avoid trigger foods and limit alcohol intake.  The latter was my big problem.  I stopped drinking on August 11, 2008.  I thought  one of the good things to come out of that would be a gout free life.  My body tricked me though.  I lost 15 pounds in less than a month when I stopped drinking.  The rapid weight loss ended up triggering the worst attack I have ever had.  It seems the fat stored in my body had all the bad stuff in it that causes an attack.  As I  was burning it up, it was unleashing a ferocious last attack.  It lasted for nearly two weeks and 60mg of Toradol barely touched it.  I was finally able to knock it out with a combination of meds that are hard on the body.  Since then, with the help of a raw food expert, I have begun to find a more natural way to protect myself from gout.  Now, if only I could find a way to reverse that getting old thing….


1. Todd - November 7, 2008

what did you eat that really helped?
tkw1232003@yahoo.com thank you!

2. Fritz - November 7, 2008

Hey Todd,

I’m assuming you too have suffered from gout and know the trigger foods to avoid. If not, check out http://tinyurl.com/5fylfa for helpful info.

I drink 3 oz. of tart cherry concentrate every day. I dilute it in 16 ounces of water and try to have it first thing in the morning. There are many sources and because I am from Michigan originally I am partial to their products. (Michigan is the largest producer of
Montmorency tart cherries). The best concentrate is the one with the highest degree of Brix.

Degrees Brix (symbol °Bx) is a measurement of the dissolved sugar-to-water mass ratio of a liquid. A 25 °Bx solution is 25% (w/w), with 25 grams of sugar per 100 grams of solution. Or, to put it another way, there are 25 grams of sucrose sugar and 75 grams of water in the 100 grams of concentrate.

The higher the Brix the better. When looking for a concentrate source try to find one that lists the degree of Brix or percentage of dissolved sugars. I order my concentrate through King Orchards http://www.mi-cherries.com/juice.htm They offer the highest Brix available which is 68. I also have shopped them and they are very competitive price wise. You do pay extra for shipping though.

I haven’t yet found anyone selling this high a quality concentrate locally but check your local Whole Foods or Health Food outlets.

I also drink lots and lots of water through the day. This helps the kidneys flush the uric acid that’s in your body. It’s a pain peeing all the time but it’s better than suffering another gout attack.

Good luck,

Fritz Breland

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