Episode 38: Gout

It started with a sharp pain in the right foot. Then the pain spread to the ankle, toes, and heel. A few hours later, my foot became hot and swollen, and I couldn’t walk or move around. A few days after, my right knee and other foot started to swell too. 

It was unthinkable, but I had to admit it’s true. Yup, I got gout.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels. Gout occurs when the uric acid in the blood turns into crystals that deposit in joints, tendons, and nearby tissues. A person can have a higher chance of getting gout if one is overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat too much meat and fish.
The most common symptom is swelling, redness, and tenderness of the joint at the toe, though the heels, knees, wrists, or fingers can be affected. Patients may also suffer joint pains, fever and fatigue. The pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks, but if left alone for too long, it may lead to chronic arthritis and kidney stone formation.
Doctors may prescribe a dose of pain relievers like ibuprofen, corticosteroids or other medicines. Expect the symptoms to gradually disappear with 24 hours. Losing weight and resting the affected joint is also recommended. Sometimes, a patient is given meds that reduce uric acid buildup, which had to be taken for the rest of their lives.
As I would eventually find out, food has a role in preventing gout attacks. Limit intake of beef, pork, poultry, fatty fish and seafood, and alcohol. Cut back on fat, and avoid foods that may trigger gout attacks such as white bread and organ meats. Eat low-fat dairy products, as well as foods with complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat grains, fruits, and vegetables. Also, drink lots of fluids, especially water.

So I rattled off all the stuff I can find out about gout while I was having attacks, but guess what I actually had to endure to get well?

I live alone, so I was basically bedridden for the first few days. Since I live at the 5th floor of a condominium, I had to climb and walk down stairs everyday. I travel by motorcycle, but I have to kickstart its engine since the electric ignition’s not working. I also have to walk around without cane, by the way.
The doctor prescribed a weekly dose of pain relievers for me to take, apart from my multivitamins and maintenance drugs. Keeping my swollen foot rested the least I can do. I manage to keep it elevated once in a while, though.
I have to drink three liters of water everyday (as prescribed by my doctor) to flush out the uric acid and other toxins in my body. Liquid cleansing diet FTW. I cut back on pork, beef, fried and oily foods, and switched to chicken and vegetables for several days. I also had to eat less rice, the most difficult part of the diet. It’s hard to maintain a gout prevention diet when every food place and restaurant you pass by only have stuff that could hurt you, but somehow I managed to survive.
Thankfully, after two weeks, the gout attacks lessened and I was able to walk properly again.
Having gout was a scary experience for me as a foodie. I’m now supposed to be careful with everything I eat and drink. I have to watch my cholesterol levels, drink a lot of liquids, and cut down on meat and seafood. I can’t eat fried foods or rice whenever I please. This much I have to worry about on top of my old health problems.
In short, if there’s a time for me to take better care of my health, it’s now. I definitely don’t want to get sick again.
(Thanks to WebMD.com for the information about gout)

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