29 August 2006

Uric Acid Blues

The third week of August of every year is usually the time when I have my own personal annual check-up. Yes, the doctor must also check how healthy or how sick he already is. Everything turned out well. 'Fit as a fiddle, as they say....except for my uric acid level, which was a bit elevated this year. The normal levels for men are around 3.4 - 7.0 mg/dL. Mine was 7.88 mg/dL. 'Checked twice by the lab technician, because I said so (a sick doctor is always paranoid), and I wanted to be sure. Arrgggh! The culprits? I have fallen in love (again!) with Italian food lately, and it is easy to pinpoint the Tutta Carne and the Frutti Di Mare Pizzas as the usual suspects.

No, I do not have signs and symptoms of gout and kidney stones yet, but I will not wait for them before changing my lifestyle. While my uric acid level can still be classified as normal by other laboratories (normal values vary depending on the laboratory which analyzes your blood sample), I am not taking any chances. The Italian food temptation is a very strong one, I tell you, and I know that if I do not reform today, then really alarming uric acid values of 10 to 12 mg/dL (!) can soon spell a sad reality for me.

So, I am now beginning myself on a low-purine diet. In my opinion, the low-purine diet is one of the saddest food diets available out there. Why? Well, let me show you by example --- I can't eat or indulge as heartily as before on the following food items:
  • anchovies

  • beef kidneys

  • brains

  • game meats

  • gravies

  • herring

  • liver

  • mackerel

  • meat barbecues (street food items)

  • meat extracts

  • sardines

  • scallops

  • sweetbreads

In the following list, I can only have 2 to 4 choices daily:
  • asparagus

  • beans

  • bouillons and broths

  • cauliflower

  • consomme

  • eel

  • eggs (not more than 4 per week)

  • fats or oils (small amounts)

  • meat (beef, lamb, pork, veal)

  • milk (not more than 24 ounces daily)

  • mushrooms

  • oatmeal

  • poultry (chicken and turkey)

  • shellfish (crab and lobster)

  • spinach

  • whole grain and whole wheat breads

  • yeast (all types)

Now I know how some of my patients feel when advised to conform to a particular diet. The shoe is on the other foot. But hey, the best way to teach something is by example.

12 reactions:

ipanema said...

I remember when I was put on a diabetic diet when I took steroids for my eyes. My internist/cardiologist was afraid of my sugar level which will shoot (as expected) up once taking steroids. Perhaps he saw the expression on my face he said, "It's alright, it's just temporary, after we wean you off steroids, you're back to regular diet." Then came the nutritionist who explained what and what not, and how much to eat of each food groups.

My world turned suddenly bland. Anyway, I grew a liking to it. But I'm glad am back to regular diet. :)

Anonymous said...

With my CRF and HTN, and high triglycerides, the standing joke at home is that I'm allowed "air and a stick of unsalted butter!"

Dr. Emer ... I'll tell you plainly ... diets are terrible! *blink!*

rolly said...

Doc, wag kang maniwala masyado sa doctor. Wala ka nang makakain, sige ka.


Joking aside, siguro naman pwede pa rin kumain ng mga yan. All in moderation nga lang.

Anonymous said...

paano yan, wala nang kinilaw na dilis? bummer!

Dr. Emer said...

IPANEMA: Those must be pretty strong steroid doses for it to cause your blood sugar to shoot up.

MOOF: What can be more depressing than being sick and having nothing good to eat? ;)

TITO: The most difficult challenge is to take everything in moderation. ;)

MAY: Bummer talaga! :)

ipanema said...

Yes doc. It was given to me thru IV.

Tani said...

diets are indeed hard to explain to patients. it's sort-of like making them consider not breathing. hehehe... :) if only there are herbs that will make bland food taste like meat or anchovies.

doc, even oatmeal in moderation? waah!

rolly said...

Off topic ng konti. When I was first hospitalized for kidney stones, I offered that I was diabetic and I tell you, the food they served was terrible. So, the next time I was hospitalized, I didn't say I was diabetic. Ayun, medyo sumarap ng konti pagkain ko. hehe

siguro, I am a doctor's worst nightmare, ano?

eye said...

doc, iinggitin na lang kita tuwing kakain ako ng garlic anchovy pizza saka ng puttanesca hehehe!

i was surprised to see scallops, mackerel & sardines in the list, kala ko sa mammals lang talaga yung mataas talaga ang levels, thanks for the fyi!

Dr. Emer said...

No oatmeal. No wheat bread. No garlic anchovy pizzas. Ayoko na tumikim at baka lalo lang akong magutom. I envy you, Eye and Tani. :)

Tito Rolly, maraming pasyente na tulad mo. Hindi ka nag-iisa. :)

Anonymous said...

welcome to the club, dr emer!

i was in a similar situation two years ago but i have given up some of the culprit food items and the uric acid level went back to normal within 3-4 months. so far i have maintained a safe level.

Dr. Emer said...

I hope I can do the same for myself, Bayi. :)