|Posted by douggoodman on August 27, 2010 at 5:15 AM|
Had a health setback today. First, though, the background. I have a condition called gout. Basically, it means I don't digest certain foods very well, like wheat, red meat, or beer. Instead, my body creates tiny crystals that find their way to my joints, where they grow. My big toe used to be where the crystals would form. When I have these crystals, it is really painful. The pain doesn't go away quickly either. It usually takes 3 to 5 days to recover.
A few months ago I read about a study where people gave up cokes/sodas. The study found decreased uric acid levels in the blood. (High uric acid levels = crystals = pain.) Specifically, the study suggested reducing high fructose corn syrup from your diet. The only way for me to get off the corn syrup was to break my addiction to caffeine. So four months ago I had my last coke. I will have Sprites and some root beers from time to time, but for the most part, I avoid sodas. I drink lemonade or Gatorade (G2) instead.
Dropping the caffeine was hard. I had migraines for days and bad headaches for about 3 weeks. I told myself this only meant it was a strong addiction, so all the more reason to quit. I haven't had a coke since. That's 4 months without cokes.
Unintentionally, I started weaning myself off of allopurinol, too. Allopurinol is a drug that flushes uric acid from the body. For the first 2 months, I took my daily pill like I always did. For another month, I dropped to a pill every couple days, then to a pill a week, and about 3 weeks ago I took my last pill. I was feeling great. Like my condition was cured. I went to see my doctor to verify that the uric acid levels were down. I gave some blood, had a talk, and my doctor even showed me what my uric acid levels were the other times I visited. For each one of those blood tests, if I remember correctly, I was limping around and having a gout attack. My uric acid levels were 8.2, 9.0, and 8.3. What does this mean? That I had high uric acid levels. Normal range is 2 to 6.
So the setback? I got a call from the doctor's office saying the results were in. I had a 10.1. I am shocked. I have never had uric acid that high. I remember when I registered a 9.0. I had a huge flare up and was limping around. How I am walking around with no pain and with a 10+ uric acid level, I don't know. My wife says this is good news and shows that there was a connection between the uric acid and the cokes. She is right, I know, but I was discouraged to think that I have to "get back on the pill."
I need to watch my diet, though. Admittedly, I have been eating wheat, red meat, and drinking beer like someone who has been denied these foods for 8 years. Eight years. I can't believe it. But maybe if I can return to my gout diet, the uric acid will go down. Maybe.