Best Tackle:
Took the first step and saw a doctor

Latest Touchdown:
Cut down on red meat.

My First Gout Attack

Posted by Jonathan S. June 20, 2011

When I think back about my first gout attack, I now realize it all started around Christmas when I received a barbecue as a gift and immediately began grilling almost every night. And as if the increase in red meat wasn’t enough, I was also having a few extra glasses of wine with it. (Who doesn’t like a drink or two with their steak?) In the week leading up to my attack I went to three barbecues with friends, then I played a game of volleyball with my buddies in my league. The next morning I woke up with a lot of pain in my foot.

I assumed the pain was from the impact of the volleyball game the night before. So, like most guys would, I toughed it out for a few days thinking it would go away with a little rest. Boy was I wrong. The pain got worse — way worse. It felt like a piece of glass was jabbing my foot, causing sharp pain anytime I put weight or pressure on it. It got to the point that it felt like I was stepping on a knife and the knife was going straight up. The pain was so intense that I ended up having to take time off work because I couldn’t even walk to the bus stop.

It was only when I realized I was about to miss my next volleyball game if this didn’t get better that I went to see a doctor at a sports medicine clinic. The whole time I’d been in pain I’d assumed it was sports related, but the doctor examined my foot and started asking me about my diet. I told her all about the barbecue, and that I’d been eating a lot more red meat.

After a blood test, a slew of questions and a review of my family’s medical history, my doctor told me that I had gout. I was shocked, since like most people, I had no clue what gout was. All I knew was that it didn’t sound good and I was worried that it might ruin a trip to Thailand I’d been planning with my girlfriend. The doctor explained that gout was a type of inflammatory arthritis, answered all my questions and prescribed medication to help reduce the inflammation that was causing the pain and reduce the uric acid levels in my body. I always took my meds on schedule since I was determined not to miss my trip. With treatment and changes in my diet, my pain started to subside and luckily it disappeared in the airport when I was heading out on my trip.

I have to say that I was pretty surprised when the doctor told me I had gout. I’d heard about it before, but I associated it with some kind of old world folklore, like the black plague. Besides I’m only 31 and in pretty good shape and like many people, I thought it was a condition that affected older guys that were overweight. Everyone I’ve talked to about gout thought it was something different – most of them being completely wrong. I’ve heard everything from, “isn’t that contagious?” to “isn’t that like gangrene?” There’s definitely a shock factor when I talk about my gout, because most people don’t know what it is exactly.

With the advice from my doctor and support of my girlfriend and friends, I’ve been more conscious about what I eat and drink since that first attack. I eat red meat less frequently. Instead of two consecutive steak or burger dinners, I’ll have chicken or turkey. And I only drink a little alcohol here and there. So far I haven’t had another attack.

I know a lot more about gout now than I ever did before, and I’m conscious about what could bring on the pain of gout again. Looking back I’d say I’d had symptoms on and off for about a year, but I didn’t know what it was. I just assumed it was some sort of joint pain. And even when my pain became severe I didn’t see a doctor right away. It was really tough. If I were going to give anyone advice on how to deal with gout, I’d say don’t waste any time. If it’s painful, go see a doctor.

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