Literatus: The rich man’s disease-A A +A
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
HISTORICALLY, rich man's disease was attributed to kings as well. Thus, its other name being “the disease of kings,” according to Wikipedia.
Maybe a look at the lifestyle of rich men and kings in history will answer the question, “why.” This lifestyle obviously has better access risk factors for gout—excessive quantities of wine (expensive kinds albeit); excessive protein-rich food (meat, fish, nuts, legumes, and purine-rich vegetables).
Unsurprisingly, gout is a metabolic disease; an offshoot of lifestyle excesses in younger years. It appears as acute or chronic arthritis (joint inflammation) with deposits of monosodium urate crystals in joints, bones, soft tissues, and kidneys. The latter can develop stones.
If a Cebuano says, “Taas akong uric” (My uric acid level is high), that does not mean gout had set in. Gout practically occurs when symptoms appear. When that happens, urate crystal deposits already exist. High uric acid level in urine (hyperuricemia), however, is an indicator, hinting us we have “progressed” to the danger zone.
High uric acid levels usually appear some 20 years before the onset of symptoms. So if you had your first high uric acid laboratory report at age 12, you are likely to get gout at around age 32, later or earlier.
That also means that for such a long period of time you feel no symptoms at all. You have no clue. Your body, however, has slowly developed internal conditions that will surely deliver you to gout between ages 30 and 45, when men experience the highest incidence of gout. Women mostly have theirs between 55 and 70.
There are two ways our uric acid level can get us into trouble. First, uric acid is a metabolic byproduct of protein metabolism, particularly the amino acid purine.
The more protein you eat, the more byproducts your body will generate. Nearly 10 percent of gout cases resulted from this.
Second, our excretion of uric acid had not been doing well. The slow disposal of uric acid via the urine creates a buildup in our blood. Since blood visits practically all the nooks found in our body to deliver much-needed oxygen and other nutrients, presence of high concentration of uric acid can result to crystal formation that sticks into the surfaces of your bones and tissues. Ninety percent of gouts resulted from this anomaly.
Prevention logically must focus on minimizing raw materials for uric acid production (dietary restriction) and maximizing your body’s capability to dispose uric acid in blood as quickly as possible (lifestyle and dietary disciples).
So you can either start checking the food you eat, or wait for a list of them in another Wednesday. In the meantime, stay healthy.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2012.