Is Gout Like Rising Damp?

Is Gout Like Rising Damp is aimed at Gout Dieters and Gout Foodies who want to identify gout triggers in their food. It explains why blaming your food for gout, is like trying to blame structural damp on current rainfall.

Sometimes, gout is complicated enough to justify an analogy. Today I heard of a man who spent 3 years trying to link current food intake with gout symptoms. It reminded me of a similar wasted period in my life before I understood how gout pain works.

The gout pain pathway is complicated. Analogies help us see the big picture. Comparing gout to rising damp opens our eyes about many aspects of our painful disease. Today, it’s food as a gout trigger. Another day, I’ll use this analogy for other common misunderstandings about gout.

Is Gout Like Rising Damp?

It’s easy to see when a building has rising damp. We see damp patches on exterior walls, even when it’s not raining. Often, there’s staining and salt-like deposits. If it’s our house, we see peeling wallpaper, wet walls, and decay.

It’s less easy to see when someone has gout. Why are they limping, grimacing, and miserable? If it’s our gout, we know the terror and helplessness.

When I first got gout, I wondered “why me?” I became convinced I could control it by changing my diet. I got a uric acid test meter. I spent years charting what I ate, how much I weighed, my uric acid levels, and my gout symptoms. In the early years of GoutPal, I learned of new potential gout triggers every day. I ate more of this, and less of that. I suspected one thing, then the other.

I was like the man who thinks his house is damp. But, he doesn’t realize that his roof leaks. Let’s call him Charlie.

Charlie buys a meter to test how wet his walls are. He worries every time it rains. He checks roof, plumbing, windows, and drains. Every day, he searches the Internet for clues about how he can stop the rain getting in. One website suggests a new heater that keeps you warm and keeps walls dry. Charlies shiny new WallDryPro Heater seems to change his damp meter readings for a while. But the readings never match local rainfall.

Another website tells Charlie not to waste money on WallDryPro Heaters. DIYwalldry website has developed a scheme for getting rid of damp walls. All you have to do is open a different window every day. But, it only works if you get a special survey of your window position related to each damp wall. Then, DIYwalldry will provide a “unique window opening and closing sequence”. It’s guaranteed to keep walls dry forever, with no running costs. It usually costs half the price of a WallDryPro heater. Charlie was ecstatic to learn he qualified for 40% discount as a WallDryPro heater owner. That nice salesman was so kind to allow him the discount. Even though, “technically, your purchase was two weeks after our Special Offer expired”.

Charlie couldn’t believe his luck! For two months, his damp meter readings got lower each day. Then they didn’t.

Rain on the roof does not trigger rising damp.
Food in your mouth does not trigger gout attacks.

Why worry about rainfall?

Charlie later learned that he had rising damp. It’s a form of structural damp where groundwater rises through the foundations of his house. Sometimes rainfall affected his damp meter readings. But, the true cause was the rise and fall of the water table. This natural flow is rainfall from many months ago moving underground. Charlie knew he could investigate different ways to stop groundwater breaking into his house. None of those treatments had anything to do with today’s rainfall.

So it is with gout. The pain you feel today is from uric acid crystals that started to form many months ago. Human nature will try to link your pain to what you ate for your last meal. Or yesterday’s treat. Or last weekend’s BBQ. I used to believe I could control my gout by stopping whatever food triggered the attack. Now, I know all I had to do was deal with the burden of years of uric acid crystals.

Charlie knows he needs rainfall. His builder is investigating local watercourses. Groundwork might alter the way the water table affects his house. Failing that, he can have a new damp barrier installed. His builder is helping him deal with damp until that intervention is completed. After that, he knows the house will dry out naturally. Charlie has stopped worrying about the rain.

I know I need a healthy balanced diet. I tried dieting to lose weight. But, for me, it takes too long. I started allopurinol. After a few months, I started my new gout-free life. I stopped worrying about food.

Stop worrying about food

Have you been affected by issues in this story? Charlie wants you to bare your soul in my gout forum.
I can’t solve your construction problems. But, I can show you how to manage your gout.

Ask your gout questions, now.


Is Gout Like Rising Damp? Document History
Date Revision
Aug 20, 2016 (first archive). First Published.
Aug 21, 2016 (archive). This Document History was malformed. No other changes to content.

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