OFFSIDES, Gout…. a 5 yard Penalty…3rd Down.

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goutWhile the talking heads on sports radio shows and football blogs are going on and on about the pass that shouldn’t have been thrown, there was another pass that many people off the field should have made. A pass that was easier to complete and would have out gout sufferers on the road to championship status.

Two days after Super Bowl Sunday, a 40-year-old male patient presented in our offices complaining of exquisite pain to his left first metatarsal phalangeal joint or MPJ (the joint between the toe and the foot, like a knuckle on your hand).  He states that his pain began insidiously and has gotten progressively worse over the past day.  He denied any trauma to the area, and his first MPJ was appeared swollen and red-hot. The words that immediately popped into my head were “gout” and “super bowl”.

As the second biggest day for food consumption by the average American, Super Bowl Sunday brings with it a glutinous combination of wings, beer, dip and fun.  For gout sufferers who are not as vigilant as they should be, the fun does not include the build up of uric acid, which is the underlying cause of gout. Uric acid is a product of the break down of purines, a natural substance found in the cells of the body as well as in most plants and animals.  Your body not only produces purines but you can attain them by eating protein rich foods.  The old adage “too much of anything is bad for you” plays true with regards to increased uric acid levels.  Your body thinks of the excess uric acid as an unwanted houseguest (like a crotchety uncle or busy-body Aunt) and attempts to get rid of it by sending your immune cells to make it go away.  The immune response causes pain, swelling, warmth, and redness that typically accompany an acute gouty attack.  The attacks can last between 3-5 days and prompt treatment will decrease symptoms fairly quickly.

The most common person to have a gout attack is a male between the ages of 30-45.  Women usually have attacks starting post menopause, between the ages of 55 and 70 years of age.  If you have a family history of gout your chances increase as well.  Other medical conditions such as kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes can also contribute to the prevalence of gout.  Medications such as diuretics (water pills) and also aspirin have shown they may increase uric acid levels in the bodyguards. Being overweight and consuming large amounts of alcohol can contribute to the cause of a gouty attack.

What has also been discovered is that the active as well as the inactive can suffer from gout. Super Bowl Champion and NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was diagnosed with gout was diagnosed in 2010. A man who has kept himself in excellent shape well into retirement, as exemplified by his winning of the mirror ball trophy on the 3rd season of Dancing with The Stars, we admitted in an interview that he was shocked with his diagnosis. What has been learned is that any activity that causes extreme amounts of stress can create the situation necessary for gout to occur.

Diagnosis of this condition, whether early on or after several bouts, is vital to get you on the road to better quality of life through proper treatment and lifestyle changes. If you have any questions regarding gout please feel free to call our offices and schedule an appointment with the doctors at Country Foot Care, who will provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

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