Posted originally in facebook in March 2007
It was a beautiful summer in April 2006 in the Himalayas and we as World Vision Teams were spending a week for a retreat and meetings. We were enjoying the grandeur and the serenity of the mountains and the escape from the heat of the plains was timely. Our sessions were thought provoking, the fellowship was great and we had some lovely time outdoors too. When we were done with all this each day there was hot yummy food on the table. The spread had breads, rotis, rice and Dhal along with Cauli flower, potatoes, eggs, chicken, pork and of course our dear friend ‘Beef’. This week was a period where I had taken a more than required amount of meat & cauli flower. Little did I know of the ordeal that was soon to follow. It was an over dose of protein especially protein which had this element called “Purin” in it.
Purins are converted into Uric acid in our body and flushed out by our kidneys through urine. However, when there is an overload of uric acid some of them are not filtered and these reach down to the toes through the blood and crystalize. Once this happens, mostly around the big toe area, the region begins to swell accompanied by intense pain that is incomparable.
We came back from Darjeeling on the morning of 6th April just in time to attend the wedding of our friend Sonia Bennet in Calcutta, where we lived then and all was well till our way back home after the wedding reception. I was having this discomfort near my right big toe and was thinking perhaps this was due to the new shoe I wore. But I was woken up in the middle of the night by a pain that was so excruciating that I was unable to place my foot down and suffered in such pain till the next day I went to the doctor. One look and he asked me what I was eating of late. He concluded this was a case of uric acid and put me on Zyloric and pain killers. When I went for the test early the following morning lo and behold the result confirmed it. My uric acid was above 12 while the maximum should be 7.5. In a matter of 3 days the pain subsided and the experience had actually shaken me up to make sure I ate right.
After this, there were times I have had this occurring but I could easily make out the indications and take precautionary steps. It has been too long since then and I had forgotten all about this when 2 weeks back I was brought back to it in similar style. I was caught napping on my diet and I realize I had an overdose of dhal and red meat in a week’s time. A spinach sandwich was the last straw that brought the camel down. Again I went through the pain and this time in both legs one after the other. I am writing this having my right foot elevated as part of the therapy. I have also shifted to a low protein and high carb diet for the moment with plenty of liquids, juices – coriander, mint & celery – all home made by my wife!!
Friends, if you love red meat go ahead and enjoy. However, take precautions by not over doing it, not having it too frequently. If you love vegetarian food beware of dhal, green peas & cauli flower. If you love fish stay away from prawns, anchovies & sardines. These are all very rich in Purins and can cause “gout” – the term used to refer to this condition. Having these in moderation should be the game plan to enjoy food. As many of my friends enquired about this I also began to see that many of them were unaware of this. I do hope that I have helped you understand what GOUT is and what are the stuff you need to avoid.
Most of all drink plenty of water!!! I mean H2O!!!! and take care, cos friends health is truly a great wealth!!!! God bless!!