"Gout?! I'm only 33!"

by Peter

I live in Japan where the summers are ridiculously hot and humid. One day we had a BBQ out in the garden. I spent the day tending the BBQ, drinking beer, eating red meat and basically dehydrating under the sun. Maybe a couple of days later, my toe started hurting. I'd stiffness in my big toe before and had wondered about it, but it had always gone away so I never bothered to look into it. This time though was different. The pain was like nothing I had experienced before and I was limping. I went to the dentist. I had an appointment for some drill work and hobbled in, thinking I should get this toe checked out afterwards. The dentist gave me some local anaesthetic and I started feeling woozey. Then nauseous. I went to the bathroom and almost fainted. The dentist said "Shall we give the drilling a miss today?" (or words to that effect). I went to the doctor's after that. I said to him I think I may have broken my toe. He touched it here and there asking if it hurt.
"Here?" "No." "Here?" "Aghhhhh!"
He looked up the English in the dictionary, "Gout."
My reaction was "But I'm only 33!" He laughed and said it can occur to young men too.
That was the first time I had gout and actually knew it was gout. I reckon I had had it mildly before but it went away without too much suffering.
This year (I will be 36 yrs), it came back. We went back to England for a couple of weeks in the summer vacation. I had a fair bit of traditional ale (which has a lot of brewer's yeast) and I guess that may have been the trigger (along with a richer diet than usual). To be honest though, I didn't drink more than 2 pints a day and most days just the one. But the gout came on so I stopped drinking alcohol.
I came back to Japan and it had gone away. Then I cracked my little toe on the same foot (left). I kicked the wall as I turned. It swelled, turned purple and I thought it was broken. I had it X-rayed the next day and the doctor (he knows me quite well now, with wrist tendonitis and shoulder trouble - I practice Japanese taiko drumming) said it was not broken. A few days later the gout came back. Yesterday I was in agony and had to leave work early. I took a taxi to the station as I couldn't face the walk. The doctor was surprised to see me again so soon. He prescribed me some medicine, which has brought the pain and swelling down. Today I am taking the day off as I walk a lot in my job and I feel a day's rest would be better than risking it flaring up again.
The one thing I do find frustrating is people's reaction when you say you have gout. "Too much beer and wine hey?!" My grandfather had it and it seems I have it. It doesn't do much for one's social standing when everyone thinks you are a boozer and gorger. And I work in Japanese elementary schools...
So that is my story. Not very exciting but I am sure others will empathise with the experience.

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Jul 28, 2017
your right about people being more prone to gout
by: Peter

You are correct,your fathers metabolism and genetic structure probably stopped him from getting gout.
Gout now affects around 7% of the worlds population, caused by inherited genes, or constant poor diet and a genetic potential to get this arthritis.
It is arthritis, so anyone can get it.
i wish I was lucky enough not to get gout at all.

Jul 25, 2017
Too much beer. Wrong
by: Anonymous

My dad had gout his whole life and never drank a drop.
I think some people are just more prone.

Mar 04, 2013
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May 29, 2012
I'm 21 and gout attacks me
by: Anonymous

Hello, I'm just 21 years old student and this disease attacks me, its kinda sad. I just hope its not going to lead to cancer or a deadliest disease in the future? You know, I'm still young. Can I fully recover from this disease?

Apr 01, 2012
Cracking joints associated with gout?
by: Simon

Hi, I have had gout attacks around five times now. I now know when I am going to get another flare up as my big toe starts cracking/popping every time I curl it or bend it! Is this purely coincidental or has anybody else experienced this?

Oct 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

Terri, thanks for the advice re apple cider. I had read about it and got some in. I didn't bother to read the Japanese and drank it straight. Oops! That was a shock to the system. I'm drinking that daily now and taking Vitamin C. We don7t eat too much beef...too exspensive!
But Frank, re your comment, I guess we do have a lot of fish-stock soup, living in Japan. Maybe not so good.
I would like to completely avoid the beer but that is a tough one. Will be sure to drink lots of water.
Thanks again for the support. Gout really sucks!

Oct 18, 2011
Thank you for the comments!
by: Anonymous

Hello, this is Peter, the author of the original story. Thank you for the comments and sorry it has taken so long to respond. It has just been a blur since the end of summer. I thought the gout was gone but it did come back this past weekend. I think the triggers may have been stress to the toe (taiko practice 3 days in a row) and lack of water (in summer I drank loads but now it has cooled I guess I need to keep up with the fluids). And a rich lunch (French). I took a break from taiko and walked on the outside of my foot for a few days and it seems to have stopped the attack getting serious.
I had a blood test the last time and the elvel of uric acid was within safe parameters. The doctor put the gout down to over-use. This seems a bit simplistic but I am not a doc!
Let me read your comments again.

Sep 07, 2011
Gout?! I'm only 33!"
by: Terri

I don't drink alcohol at all and I got gout.

I'm overweight. Ate anything I wanted.

You need to drink 1/2 of your weight in ounces of water. Pick up some Bragg apple cider vinegar. Mix 2TB of ACV with 8 oz water and drink it. Stay away from yeast breads too.

Seaweed is good...veggies and fruit. Soy protein is good.

Stay away from beef and shellfish. Some fish can bring it on..like Tuna, mackarel to name a few. Don't eat too much too often of anything that is moderately or high in purines.

Take care.

Sep 06, 2011
I have the same gouty problem
by: Frank

Hi Peter,

I suffered the same fate, I had my first gout attack at 35,and when ever i damaged my feet playing sport it came back into the damaged areas.
Best thing to do is, KEEP AWAY FROM BEER.Or if you drink it then drink a glass of water between every beer so you can flush your system out. You will find that sometimes you can drink beer and not be affected, Just remember, the uric acid will build up over time and then strike when you least expect it. Never drink beer when dehydrated, you will get an attack immediately. Also keep away from any fish stock soups, this will also get you gout.

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