Gout - A Disease of Kings?!

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Gout has been known throughout history as a “disease of kings.” The myth that this arthritic condition targets the upper class is related to the foods that are associated with it. Red meat, alcohol, and seafood, morsels often afforded only by royalty in the past, can aggravate gout. King Henry VIII is said to have suffered from this condition, and while not a royal, famous American Benjamin Franklin is also said to have experienced this cause of joint inflammation. 

The big toe joint is where most gout sufferers experience intense pain. Referred to as an “attack,” the area may also become tender, red, and swollen. Even after the pain goes away, the patient may continue to feel discomfort in the area around the joint. So, what does seafood have to do with gout?

Here’s the breakdown: seafood (and other foods) contain purines. Purines turn into uric acid when decomposed by the body. High uric acid levels can lead to the formation of urate crystals which often collect in the area around a joint causing a gout attack.

One of the ways to address gout is to avoid or limit certain purine rich foods. While meats (especially those from organs) are on the “do not eat” list, so are vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus, and spinach. Alcohol and sugary drinks such as soda should also be eliminated to reduce your chances of a painful flare-up.

Are you awakened at night by pain in your big toe? Gout may be the reason. Address your pain today by calling the Houston, TX office of Houston’s High Tech Podiatrist, Dr. Robert Parker to learn more about ways to win the battle against arthritis pain. The staff at Parker Foot & Ankle can be reached by calling (281) 497-2850, or online.

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