Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Statins and Gout

Gout is a disease that often hits the male in his 50's. Ask anyone who's gone through an acute Gout attack and they'll confess that it's the worse pain they've ever endured.

Normally it starts in your feet. You'll think you sprained an ankle or got a hair-line foot fracture. Then a few days later the pain migrates. Then as your gout matures, it attacks your knees. In very severe cases it creates uric Acid deposits called "Tophi" in your knuckles.

Gout; once known as the "Kings disease" was blamed on eating a rich diet. Most of the food that Anthony Bourdain craves (innards,brain,liver, foie gras) will trigger your gout by elevating your "Uric Acid" level. That's what Gout is. An elevated Uric Acid level. Under a microscope, Uric Acid looks like spikes on the end of a "cat-o-nine" whip in the mid evil days. The best defense against gout is exercise, and eating a well balanced diet.

In our house we avoid the "P" word. No not Purines (a substance your body uses to turn dead tissue into Uric Acid Crystals) but P for Processed. Once we stayed away from processed package food, we started losing weight and the gout attacks deminished. No bolgna, hot dogs, frozen dinners, etc.... (plus you'll find what's specific to your body that triggers the disease. Lucky me, Cognac and Sock eye Salmon will have me in pain in 10 hours).

STATINS. Statins are very common in the American culture. It's one of the reasons the amount of strokes have declined in the last 20 years. Statins are drugs like Lipitor and Plavix that help prevent Heart attack and Stroke. They lower your bodies cholestoral. Cholesteral is the waxy substance you see floating at the top of a can of chili. Yes, the white fat stuff is mostly cholesteral. Lipitor and Plavix are two very very effective statins that are effective in lowering lipid levels in older adults.

One major negative side effect of statins is muscle weakness. No matter how great a shape your muscles are in; you could gently bend over to pick up a UPS box on your front porch and out of no-where, "RIP" you tear a lumbar muscle or a lat muscle in your back. I've experienced this twice now. (about 6 months apart) Each episode was followed by 2 weeks of healing the muscle, then the Acute Gout attacks began.

Having discussed this with a fellow Gout patient/Pharmacist, we both concluded that the red blood cells that create the massive contusion in your back works it's way south to your lower extremeties. These RBCs act as anchors for urick acid clusters. It is not unusual to experience a full gambit of gout in one knee, then the ankle and toes of that same side, the other foot and ankle, then finally the other knee. Any time you have a large muscle strain or tear. Prepare for an adittional 10 days to 2 weeks of gout symptoms.

My treatment.

There's an old English remedy for gout that came out of the 1500s. Cherrys. I drink R.W. Knudsen Cherry juice daily. I'm not sure it's necessary to drink it every day, but it's imparitive to drink it every day that your gout symptoms are present.

Let me speak from experience. I have chronic pain so I use Norco and Dilaudid (pill form morphine) daily. These analgesics do absolutely nothing to ease the pain of Gout. When it comes to gout pain; Motrin is better than Morphine. Gout causes an inflamitory response that's local to the cluster of uric acid crystals.

Cherry juice on the other hand creates a neuro blocker between the gout pain and the receptors in your brain. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Cherry juice does not make the gout go away. Cherry juice stops the pain signal from reaching your brain. Recently I had what I would call an acute gout attack. My left knee was swollen like a soccer ball. I had a temp of 101. I was sick and shaking. Having gone thru bottles of cherry juice, I couldn't feel the pain. Yet I couldn't bend my knee either. I couldn't walk normally. I could bear weight on the extremety, I was without type 11 pain, but I was really ill.

I resorted to Ibuprofin and Indocin. After starting treatment on NSAIDS, the symptoms subsided in 5 hours. It was the most surreal gout attack I've ever experienced.

So If you are vulnerable to gout, and you take statins, and you use cherry juice to control the pain; remember, the uric acid crystals are still there and need to be dealt with. Don't wait to take the medicine your doctor prescibed to control your gout.


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