Didn’t See This Coming – Gout

So, I went away this past weekend to hang out with my college room mate. Had a blast as per usual and with the exception of one night of pizza didn’t even eat all that bad (it was carnivore other than that and the beers I drank).

Went to bed at a decent hour after watching the AFC and NFC Championship games and was looking forward to another exhilarating work week (notice the sarcasm). I woke up in the middle of the night with some really terrible pain in my right big toe.

Now… I was diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus years ago. For those of you not familiar with the condition it is, a degenerative arthritis and stiffness due to bone spurs that affects the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTP) at the base of the hallux (big toe). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallux_rigidus

I assumed it was just that acting up or maybe some inflammation from the beer and pizza (after being carnivore for nearly a month). Nope. This was different. The entire night and next morning I was in significant pain. It was so bad that I was nearly in tears as I walked to my office.

Was in pain all day until late in the afternoon it began to subside. When I got home I told my wife and she asked if it was like the pain I’d had before which I told her it wasn’t. Well THEN I started doing some Googling and ran across this article: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897

This article, about GOUT, I could have written nearly word for word.

An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the bedsheet on it may seem intolerable.

From the CAUSES section of the article:

Purines are also found in certain foods, including red meat and organ meats, such as liver. Purine-rich seafood includes anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) promote higher levels of uric acid.

From the RISK FACTORS section of the article:

  • Diet. Eating a diet rich in red meat and shellfish and drinking beverages sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) increase levels of uric acid, which increase your risk of gout. Alcohol consumption, especially of beer, also increases the risk of gout.
  • Weight. If you’re overweight, your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys have a more difficult time eliminating uric acid.
  • Medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions increase your risk of gout. These include untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart and kidney diseases.
  • Certain medications. Low-dose aspirin and some medications used to control hypertension — including thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers — also can increase uric acid levels. So can the use of anti-rejection drugs prescribed for people who have undergone an organ transplant.
  • Family history of gout. If other members of your family have had gout, you’re more likely to develop the disease.
  • Age and sex. Gout occurs more often in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels. After menopause, however, women’s uric acid levels approach those of men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 30 and 50 — whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.
  • Recent surgery or trauma. Experiencing recent surgery or trauma can sometimes trigger a gout attack. In some people, receiving a vaccination can trigger a gout flare.

To say this is a bummer is a massive understatement. I’d gotten through the bad parts of carnivore (digestive issues) and was REALLY loving it.

Does this mean I’ve got to go off carnivore? Do I need to cut out red meat? Do I go vegetarian? Do I stop drinking alcohol all together?

So many question… I hate being in this headspace.

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