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  • Reedhika Puliani

Gout- The king’s disease

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One morning the king could not get out of bed after having a night full of drinks (alcohol) and red meat. He noticed redness at the tip of his big toe and he just couldn’t move out of his bed due to pain and swelling in the joints. The doctor was called upon and said, “The king had got the king's disease, also known as gout or gouty arthritis”. The king then said, “What could be the cause of this? I have been eating such healthy food”

The doctor with a smirk on his face said “Maybe not so healthy! The uric acid in your blood is high due to which it has been deposited in your joints in needle-like crystals, hence causing redness, inflammation, and pain. You have to cut down on alcohol, red meat and anything very rich in protein as the protein breaks down leads to forming purine and then to uric acid. You have to change your eating habits; otherwise, the condition could get worse over time.”

After a few days, the king could not sleep, as he experienced sudden pain attacks in the middle of the night and could not move from the bed. He continued to live like this for a few months and then noticed, ‘a hard nodule’ under the skin on his elbows. The same was felt in some other joints of the body too and the pain had gotten worse. This was when, he called the doctor again, who said “This is another sign of gout and is called ‘tophi’. It is the deposition of uric acid under the skin and it indicates that your body is substantially overloaded with uric acid due to high levels in your blood over the years. Hence, you will have to take medications and also change your eating patterns.”

The king then started taking the medications but did not make any changes in the diet. He continued to have alcohol and red meat, thus the pain kept coming back, until one day, when the king died due to extreme pain.

The story above proves how important it is to change your eating habits. Medications are a very temporary fix. Changes in your eating patterns are very necessary. Also, studies have found that vitamin C may lower uric acid levels. People with gout may be helped by adding citrus fruits and other foods rich in vitamin C (such as strawberries and peppers) to their diet.

Here are few guidelines that can help with gout:

• Drinking plenty of water to remain well-hydrated can be beneficial in preventing gout attacks.

• Avoid high purine foods: red (organ) meat, soft drinks, alcohol, certain seafood, high-fat milk products, etc.

• Eat more berries, cherries, low-fat dairy products, brown rice, vegetables, nuts, etc.

• Include vitamin C foods in every food you consume.

Ways to include vitamin C: having lemon water daily, sprinkle some lemon juice on your dal rice, etc, include at least one fruit high in vitamin C, daily (kiwi, orange, sweet lime, etc)

A list of high, moderate, and low purine foods:

High Purine Foods:

Seafood: Trout, tuna, haddock, sardines, anchovies, mussels, and herring

Excess alcohol, including beer and liquor

Meat products: Organ meats, for example, liver and sweetbreads

Sugary foods and beverages

High-fat foods, such as bacon, dairy products, and red meat

Moderate Purine Foods:

Seafood: Oyster, shrimp, crab, and lobster


Meat products: Most other meat like chicken, ham, and beef

Low Purine Foods:

Peanut butter and most nuts (Almonds, walnuts, etc)

Whole-grain rice, bread, and potatoes

Most fruits and vegetables


Low-fat and fat-free dairy products

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