Gout - The Role of Inflammation

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've had close to 40 severe, sustained gout attacks over the last 14 years. To say this has been frustrating is a gross understatement. Like all gout sufferers, these attacks have impacted my life in a very negative way.
So why would someone, me, have all these attacks without possessing any of the risk factors? First, let's look at the risk factors for gout according to the CDC:
  • Diet. Eating a diet rich in red meat and shellfish and drinking beverages sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) increases levels of uric acid, which increases your risk of gout. Alcohol consumption, especially 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.

Why Gout? Why Me?

Why do I get gout?
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After an outbreak or two, I began asking myself, why gout, why me? I had none of the risk factors. I've eaten right for most of my married life (33 years). My diet was (is) heavy in fruits and vegetables, I drank (drink) plenty of water and I ate (eat) low-fat meats and fish. Back then I was an avid runner.
My weight wasn't a factor. I'm 6 feet tall and weigh about 178 lbs. When I was running almost every day, my weight was at about 168 lbs.
I have no medical conditions and don't take any medication.
Between my parents (God rest their souls), myself and three older brothers, I'm the only one in my family who has ever had gout. Ironically, my parents and siblings all had or have all the risk factors for gout, but I guess I'm the lucky one who won the gout lottery.
Age, of course, I can do nothing about.
Honestly, I don't profess to know why I get gout and no one else in my family does. Especially in light of me having none of the risk factors, other than age, while they having all of them. I'm an avid exerciser and they haven't truly exercised in decades. So why do I get it and not them? Well, I have an idea.
Chronic Inflammation and Joint Pain
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Again, why me?

For years after I started getting gout, I kept asking myself why me and not my brothers. Obviously, I didn't want my brothers to suffer like me, but I needed to understand what I was doing "wrong" that made me seemingly more susceptible to gout. Finally, I realized there is a connection between my much higher exercise/activity level and getting gout. Then it dawned on me that my attacks were proceeded by heavy activity, followed by a sore joint in one of my feet or knees and then that joint would often develop gout.
I discussed my theory with my family doctor. She was cordial but I could tell she didn't buy it. "Mr. Renfroe, you have a high uric acid level, you drink too much red wine and you just get gout. We don't entirely understand why. Now, here's a nice steroid shot. Let me know if it gets worse." Of course I'm paraphasing and jesting a bit, but that's essentially what I got from my doctor(s).
But I knew there was a connection. My theory was that my inflammation triggered gout...not that gout triggered my inflammation. Obviously, when you have a gout attack, your inflammation in the affected joint is increased tremendously. But I'm talking about the trigger. Here are a couple of recent examples:
  • My brother and I were going on a trout fishing trip to Idaho this summer (2022). I'm a novice, so I needed to practice. I went to a spot here in north Alabama that required me to climb around on rocks. I did this for about two hours. One of my knees was sore afterwards. The next day, I started a three-week gout episode in that joint.
  • In July of this year (2022), my wife, a friend and I did a triathlon in Decatur, AL called Wet Dog. I did the bicycle leg of about 9.3 miles. I overdid it, riding faster and longer than I normally ride. The next day, I began another 3-4 week gout episode.
I could give you many other similar examples where my activities led to gout attacks in my feet...many.
So my advice to anyone reading this is to be very careful when exercising. Over exercising (or any intense physical activity) to the point of joint pain may trigger an attack. There is research available that, for me, validates the inflammation connection that I described above. Forgive me for not being able to give you a link, but it does exist because I've seen and read it with my own eyes. I just don't remember how to word my google search.
Also, it is my belief that lowering the day-to-day inflammation in your body will also reduce your risk of developing a gout attack. Consider buying a bottle of PainAway. IT WORKS. It's a natural pain reliever and has reduced my inflammation substantially. Mostly because of PainAway, I now exercise regularly, either hiking or riding a bike.
Finally, here is a very interesting article that I find very intriguing. It has to do with the connection between body pH level and gout. I have started now to really monitor my pH. Here's the article in The Epoch Times:
That's it for today. I'm sorry for going so long, but I think the details are necessary. Thank you for reading!
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