When the cartoon character Courage the Cowardly Dog’s owner Eustace Bagge is taken over by Big Toe, a menacing microbe that talks like Edward G. Robinson in “Little Caesar,” you know that swollen, purple digit is up to no good. (Trust us on this one.)
The same could be said for the ever-increasing menace of swollen digits that often signal a gout attack. Overall prevalence of gout in North American has jumped two- to four-fold in the past 40 years. Around 8.3 million folks have the condition, and as more people are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (three or more of these five conditions: high triglycerides, a large waist size, low healthy HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure) the number of cases will skyrocket. One study showed that 63 percent of folks with gout also had metabolic syndrome; while only around 25 percent of folks without gout had it.
Although it’s a form of arthritis, gout is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Eating high-purine foods such as red meats and shellfish, being overweight and drinking too much can contribute to developing gout and triggering attacks.
You can help prevent gout by keeping blood pressure and blood lipid levels in check; avoiding most saturated and all trans fats, processed carbs, added sugars and syrups; walking 10,000 steps a day (1 minute of aerobic activity equals 100 steps); and de-stressing with 10 minutes of mindful meditation daily. Toe the line, and Big Toe will be nowhere around!
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.