Management of high uric acid levels
With the rainy season and drop in temperatures there could also be a marked drop in your water intake. When children go back to the school and college routine and there is a drop in their out door activities and sports or games they may be less thirsty and drink less water. A low water intake can lead to a condition called Gout. Earlier this condition was seen mainly in adults. Now as young children are taking up sports and games more seriously and at competitive levels we are observing these gout problems in teenagers. Also with children commuting long distances to school and consuming very little water through a long day this problem has increased.
When protein rich foods specially non- veg like fish, seafood, mutton, chicken, beef, glandular meat like liver, kidney, etc. are digested in the body, uric acid is formed as a break down product. Also with consumption of greens, beans and peas there is a break down product formed called purine. This too gets converted to uric acid. It must be flushed out of the body with plenty of water. If not urate crystals will form and lodge themselves in the cartilages of the joints like wrist, elbow, shoulder, knees, ankle,heel, toes, etc. This will result in shooting pain, swelling or a pricking pain in these areas.
So the First step is to see that even children are trained from a young age to drink plenty of water. Children below 10 must consume one and a half liters of water daily. Children above 10 must drink two liters and after 18 two and a half to 3 liters is a must.
The second step is to make it a rule to eat less non-veg. Try to eat it only once a day and preferably only at lunch so that there is time to digest it. Soups and gravies of meat or fish and vegetables produce high levels of uric acid, so those diagnosed with this problem should try to avoid this.
Athletes and sportsmen like tennis, badminton, cricket, etc. players seem quite susceptible to this. This could be due to increased perspiration during training and insufficient water consumption. Also players seem to be in and out of special training camps where lots of non-veg food is available. They eat large amounts of it thinking it will build their body. You need the protein but try to consume milk, egg white and dhals along with the meat so that you eat lesser quantities of meat/poultry/fish. Milk and egg white are protein foods that do not raise uric acid levels. You may consume half to one liter skimmed milk and 2-3 egg whites, daily with out any change in the uric acid levels. Avoiding all red meat – mutton, beef, pork and organ meats like liver, kidney, etc. will help. Also consumption of shell fish, prawns and shrimp raises the uric acid levels.
Many children also tend to eat just chicken sandwiches or rice and chapathi with a non veg curry in all their meals. This is dangerous as they are not in the habit of combining dhal, vegetables, salads, etc. in every meal. The amount of non-veg increases and this not only leads to high uric acid levels but also later on will lead to heart disease and colon cancer.
We have also observed sudden gout attacks of pain after the consumption of too much alcohol, so please avoid it if the levels are high. Men are more prone to this condition than women. The level in the blood should not be more than 6mg/dl for men and 5mg/dl for women. Some women develop this after menopause.