Little old lady newly diagnosed!

Stopping Gout Together Forums Help My Gout! The Gout Forum Little old lady newly diagnosed!

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Carolyn Poulter 2 years ago.

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  • #1726

    Carolyn Poulter
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    Ŧallars: Ŧ -5.77
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    Hi, I asked a question some time back but being my usual clumsy self (even before the gout) I managed to click on the wrong thing and ended up contacting the helpdesk. Sorry Roy!

    OK I had my first bout of gout a couple of years ago, un-diagnosed at the time, it was in my heel and my GP thought I’d damaged something like my Achilles tendon. It got better and I was OK for a while. Then BOOM! back with a vengeance, the classic ‘can’t bear a sheet on my feet’ type thing, tingling soles of my feet, burning pain at the same time, two toes the colour of thunderclouds. Blood tests galour – aside not only am I terrified of needles, can’t even look at photos of them, I also tend to faint and/or collapse the veins they are attacking – WHY do they need to take so much? Anyway my uric acid levels were ‘over 850’ whatever that means. I tried the low purine diet, to no avail, ate enough black cherries to look like one, pain killers didn’t even take the edge off. So after 2 more months of almost constant attacks I asked my GP to put me on Allopurinol. I immediately got a whopper of an attack/series of attacks. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t even hobble! Also got it at the base of my thumbs. Ran a high fever for almost 3 weeks – between 100 and 102.5. Ended up in hospital twice as they tried to find out reason for fever which they said had to be an infection but found nothing. More flipping needles were involved of course. Vampires, all of them.

    I am 62, white haired, I am normal weight now though over the course of my life I have been very thin (anorexic at times) and when I was a computer programmer with my behind glued to a chair for 15 hours a day, fat, totally fat. I don’t drink beer but I do drink white wine and quite frankly am not prepared to give that up. I very rarely eat red meat and then only a couple of ounces. I do/did absolutely adore oily fish, seafood, lentils, anchovies, pates, liver, you can see that I was doomed to get gout really. Now I am just doomed to a diet banning everything I like. I know I should also give up the wine but fear that would result in losing the will to live so I’m being stubborn about that.

    So now I have been on the drug for a month and my feet are almost painless, the thumb thing comes and goes. I am pleased to see more women posting here. Yes it does seem that the data provided by clinics and hospitals seems to be aimed at men but I doubt it is deliberate, I suspect it might be under-diagnosed in women at least initially. Even my own GP calls it ‘rich old man’s disease’ which believe me, I am not!

    If it helps anyone, I have found taking the Allopurinol is better for me taken in the evening. It says take it with food and I tend to skip breakfast and often lunch. Also I am not sure but I think it makes me slightly dozy – well, dozier than my common state which is pretty daft at the best of times.

    After all that rambling I do have a question. All those blood tests show that I am very low on Potassium – between 200 and 240 when it should be much higher and Sodium (ironic because I had been trying so hard to keep me and hubby on a low sodium diet after we hit 45 or so). Nothing much has changed in our lives, same or better diet, same stress levels, better exercise levels when I’m not laid up, any ideas as to why it would all kick in now? We are empty-nesters Yay! We’ve had kids since we were 18 so when our youngest finally stopped boomeranging back home some years back and got married we turned his bedroom into an exercise room and immediately went to a David Bowie concert……. Hmmm freedom, chasing each other round the house and giggling, and rock concerts cause gout? Who knew?

  • #1728

    Carolyn Poulter
    Participant
    Ŧallars: Ŧ -5.77
    GoutPal Carer Badge Rank: Carer

    Following up on my own forum post which is probably not considered ‘proper’ but while I am a lady, I have never really been terribly ‘proper’. Well I was called a ‘proper little madam’ in childhood – English-speak for precocious and opinionated little girl. Still the same, I just got older.

    Anyway as my better half is up on scaffolding redoing our bedroom ceiling, long story, don’t ask, I have had time to browse through all kinds of forum posts here, dipping off to the sidelines and reading amazing articles and research done – thank you Keith!

    I have noticed that we all have our own triggers, stories, reactions, diets, quick-fixes, not-so-quick-fixes, misinformed and/or well-informed doctors/pharmacists/self-professed dietitians(not so veiled reference to one particular poster), friends/family, all underlined with one common denominator –

    Holy Wotsit! It HURTS!

    I am quite delighted to hear that contrary to so many websites’ advice – veggies don’t make it worse, so I can eat mushrooms (which I just love) and lentil curry, and artichokes. Apparently I should be careful with caviar (the real stuff). Though I have had, and enjoyed, caviar in my misspent youth it doesn’t feature real high on my shopping list these days so I think I can manage that. I drink lemon juice and water and was concerned is that fructose? No it’s not! Well not enough to avoid it. I love fresh fruit, on some sites and advice of some self-professed diet experts also a no-no, but it seems I can have a mid-afternoon snack of a fresh peach and not feel guilty!

    The other thing I was going to mention is the blush-making embarrassment I feel when people ask what’s wrong and I mutter ‘Errrm… it’s gout actually.’ and then I have to go through all the ‘Well aren’t you rich! Over-fed! A hard drinker!’ types of comments. When in fact those are all myths. Unfortunately the thing about urban myths is that people believe them. Even doctors.

    Other thing, hubby doesn’t have gout, but over the past two years he has increasingly had quite severe cramps in his legs and feet. Diet? The joys of turning 60? Luck of the draw? Sympathy pains for my gout?

  • #1733

    Keith Taylor
    Keymaster
    Ŧallars: Ŧ 1138.53
    GoutPal Scholar Badge Rank: Scholar

    Any forum that says it isn’t proper to follow up on your own posts isn’t a proper forum.

    I can’t make any sense of your potassium numbers.:
    ” very low on Potassium – between 200 and 240″ What scale?

    ” when it should be much higher” Who says? And why? I’ve been told it should be between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L.

    ” and Sodium” What about sodium?

    I asked Bowie, but he was floating in a most peculiar way. He muttered something about “Activation of the NALP3 inflammasome is triggered by low intracellular potassium concentration” before we lost communications. I don’t think it helps. Insufficient data, mistress.

    I think Alan’s legs and feet might be spending too much time up scaffolding. Not looking for a peaceful escape, is he? Am I allowed to be so rude when we’ve hardly got to know each other?

    Seriously though, I can’t see how low potassium is related to gout, but I’m looking into it. So far, all I can see is that low potassium needs to be taken seriously. I’m not sure yet if you have a nutrition problem, or something else. Any other meds besides allopurinol?

    Even if it’s not gout related, I might be able to help on one of my other sites. I’ve got a few websites, but none of them famous (yet) for plotting witches.

  • #1736

    Carolyn Poulter
    Participant
    Ŧallars: Ŧ -5.77
    GoutPal Carer Badge Rank: Carer


    OK my doctor has said about the potassium and sodium. He said it aloud reading from the screen, I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see it LOL. He said it should be 3 5 to 5 so I guess he meant 3.5 to 5 and mine is between 2.00 and 2.40. He said my Sodium is too low, which I thought was a good thing so that shows how much I don’t know! I am only on the Allapurinol. Nothing else.

    It could be diet. Since the age of 7 I have been anorexic a few time though not for many years. I was fat a few years ago but then got laid off and steadily lost about 30 pounds, but sensibly. Until 2 years ago. Silly really, just a combination of events. I had been traveling a lot trying (with my siblings) to get my Dad settled into some kind of sheltered situation, complicated because we live all over the world. Anyway 6 months later Dad fell seriously ill, we flew to the UK immediately but by the time we got there the next day he was in a coma, he died 6 days later. I ate very little all that week at the hospital, we had to come back for Alan’s work, we flew back and the next day Alan was told he would be losing his job in 6 months but first he was going to the Philippines (where his and his teams’ jobs were being outsourced) to manage the transition and train. He was gone 6 weeks and I lost another 35 pounds. Not eating is easy, after the 3rd day you don’t feel hungry, by the 7th the thought of eating becomes impossible, I was drinking of course, you can’t live without fluids, but the consomme diet will probably not become fashionable! I have now put about 10 pounds back on and am in the normal range for my height and age. I am eating but it is very possible that the potassium thing is self-inflicted and it’s just taking time to build the levels back up. Apart from the gout I feel fine, just a bit tired (or lazy!).

    Love the Bowie comment. We were so lucky, it was his last tour before he retired because of heart/health problems. He was very good, relaxed, funny, self-deprecating and sang old and new songs.

    Alan and the ceiling, you may be right, he loves fishing, he’s great at fishing, lousy at actually catching though and I KNOW he loves it partly for the quiet. Though he has told me many times that I have to look after myself because if anything happened to me he would miss the background noise 🙂 Seriously though, we live in the geodesic dome home and the original owners had done the ceiling with sheetrock(plasterboard) and stippled plaster, hideous and it cracked. We replaced the ceiling in the main room with tongue and groove boarding so it can move with the building – our summers are boiling hot, our winters extremely cold. Now doing the same in our bedroom only in there it is whitewashed, sort of beach type look. And one purple accent wall, because I read somewhere that people who have purple bedroom walls have terrific sex. So far it seems to be working! Oops too much info Carolyn! Ahem, sorry.

    Oh and btw, 8 months after he lost his job the company phoned and asked him to come back and start hiring his teams again, they brought a lot of the jobs back, he’s back managing well over 100 people.

    Anyway I’m rambling again, I really can’t thank you enough for taking the time to run this site. It is so good to read questions and experiences of people who are actually going through gout rather than just have medics rattle off statistics. I find it very reassuring to discover that it is such a varied issue and though we have a lot in common we are all going through our own types of symptoms. I would never have known that it is normal to have increased attacks when starting Allopurinol, without that knowledge I might well have given up on them before they had chance to take effect.

    So thank you again from a geodesic dome home in rural Ontario.

  • #1748

    Keith Taylor
    Keymaster
    Ŧallars: Ŧ 1138.53
    GoutPal Scholar Badge Rank: Scholar

    Aw Carolyn, if you ever stop posting here, I’m gonna miss you! 🙂
    Plus, you’re the best chance I’ve got of getting my General Discussion forum going.

    I’m not a nutrition expert (though I know more than most of the so-called experts on the Internet). I picked up on the diet thing because I know that the most common causes of low potassium are nutrition related. Either insufficient potassium in food, or loss of it through vomiting or diarrhea. That would also tie in with sodium, which is essential for balanced nutrition. The problem with the common Western Diet, is sodium is added to everything to make crap food-like products tasty. And, that leads to the worst aspect, which is too much sodium compared to potassium. Our hearts don’t like that.

    In your shoes, I’d focus on restoring potassium levels first. I might be accused of over-promoting spinach. Thing is, among other claims to fame, it tops the high potassium foods list. If you’re not a spinach fan, there’s 56 other foods on that list that will help you. By the way, the discussion link at the bottom of that page is wrong. It should be Foodary’s Healthy Eating Forum. I’ll change it soon, but breakfast beckons. It’s another place you can chat, should you ever feel the need. 😀

    After a month of potassium-rich food, you can get another blood test. Then, if sodium is still a problem, that’s easy to remedy.

  • #1753

    Carolyn Poulter
    Participant
    Ŧallars: Ŧ -5.77
    GoutPal Carer Badge Rank: Carer

    Actually I love spinach though I haven’t seen it fresh in the local shops recently but then we’ve had an incredibly hot, humid and yet dry summer. I had to let my veggie garden go and have only watered the few potted (not POT!) plants on the deck. Can’t afford to waste the water. We don’t pay water or sewage bills but still have to be careful with it. Our trees have taken a beating but should bounce back. My Hostas look most peculiar and I think the roses will survive but everything else is toast, or looks like toast.

    The fire marshals have a total burn ban on at the moment, we usually burn all paper and cardboard and other bits and pieces but that’s on hold until they give us the all clear. We compost or recycle everything else. When we moved in to this house the previous owners left us with 50 garbage (rubbish?) tickets. They cost a dollar each back then, have gone up to $2 now. You have to put one on each bin liner of un-recyclable rubbish that you take to the dump. 18 years on we still have 15 left. You can’t really compost meat or fish scraps but raccoons make brilliant dustbins. Well except for the copious amounts of poop. We also get bears through twice a year but they are not interested much in meat or fish, they are more into berries, fruit and so on. Deer like salt, rhododendrons and sweetcorn. Apples are like crack cocaine for deer, so we only leave a few on the ground.

    I did go out today to get my hair cut, using my funky walking stick and feeling quite silly. The massive flare up I had, probably as a result of starting on Allopurinol, seems to be subsiding though my right foot is still swollen. At least I can drive again, roads are pretty quiet hereabouts. Last time I was in the UK I was completely freaked out, no way will I ever drive there again, it’s like a giant, constant, game of chicken! When I say it’s quiet around here I mean it, I did pass two horses and buggies and there was the funniest contrast when I got to the house of the lady who cuts my hair. The field immediately beside her house – wheat, farmer with massive combine harvester. Across the road, another field of wheat with another farmer, two horses and a plough and behind him women and children gathering and stacking the wheat by hand. I would have taken a photo but I know they don’t like being photographed and I respect that.

    I am going to concentrate on getting the Potassium thing sorted and stick with the Allopurinol for the gout. I hadn’t really grasped how serious the low Potassium thing is until recently and as I don’t really feel ready to shuffle off this mortal coil just yet I’ll keep a closer eye on it. Someone has to stick around and bug Keith to keep this lovely site going!

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