Navigation Links
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Date:5/23/2008

Maurice Cheeks shows that the arthritic condition can strike anyone

FRIDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- He's a 15-year veteran of the National Basketball Association, a four-time NBA All-Star, and head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. He's basketball great Maurice Cheeks.

And he's got gout.

"I had no idea what gout was," Cheeks said, describing his first encounter -- at the age of 46 -- with the often-debilitating arthritic condition. "Never heard of it. Never talked to anyone about it, and then I started to find out that there were many other people with this condition."

Cheeks made his remarks at a press conference Thursday in New York City to mark the second annual National Gout Awareness Day, sponsored by the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES). The goal is to draw attention to the risks, symptoms, and treatments associated with a condition that strikes between three million and five million adult Americans, and to debunk stereotypes about the so-called "disease of kings."

According to GUAES, gouty arthritis results from a condition known as hyperuricemia -- the build-up of abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood. A normal waste product that forms from the breakdown of purines found in cells and a wide range of foods, uric acid is usually dissolved in the blood, passed through the kidney, and excreted through urine.

But in excess amounts, sodium urate can crystallize. In some cases, the resulting needle-like formations lodge and jab into joints, bringing about sudden and painful bouts of tenderness, redness, stiffness, and swelling in the big toe, instep, ankle, heel, knee, wrist, finger, or elbow.

People typically describe the pain as akin to the trauma of childbirth or breaking a bone.

"I don't think I can adequately express the pain," Cheeks said.

"I once had a severe ankle sprain, and in order for me to play, they had to wrap it and wrap it and wrap it, because any time I put my foot down, I was not able to play," he added. "But the game was so important. So I played, even though that was probably my worst pain ever. And that pain doesn't even compare to gout."

In February, Cheeks' fourth acute attack of gout triggered inflammation so severe he had to coach several 76ers games with one shoe on and one shoe off. For many people, an attack can turn the mere act of standing and walking into an unmanageable ordeal.

Today, gout is the most common form of arthritis among men over 40. Women also suffer from the condition, but typically after menopause, according to GUAES.

Obesity and the excessive consumption of purine-rich foods -- such as meats, shellfish, and hard liquor and beer -- have long been associated with a risk for gout. And portly figures of history, such as Henry VIII, Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton -- all suffered from gout, popularizing the view that it's an illness of the privileged and out-of-shape.

"But [Maurice Cheeks] defies the stereotypes," said Dr. N. Lawrence Edwards, chairman of GUAES, and vice chair of the department of medicine at the University of Florida, who spoke at the press conference.

While diet does play some role in who get gout, genetics is a major factor, with one in four people having a family history of gout, Edwards said.

"There is an assumption that this is a self-inflicted disease," noted Edwards. "That's the stereotype out there. But clearly Coach Cheeks represents none of this. It's an equal opportunity employer. It affects all strata of society."

Edwards agreed that lifestyle changes, such as keeping in shape and watching one's diet, could help somewhat reduce -- though probably not eliminate -- the risk for acute attacks among people with high levels of uric acid.

He stressed the importance of seeing a doctor and getting a uric acid reading for those who've experienced an attack -- with the aim of getting the serum acid level below the danger point of 6.8 mg/dL. And for many patients hovering above the cut-off, effective medications may be the most effective way to fight back, he said.

"If any of you ever had [gout], you would know you would try to do everything possible to try and prevent it," Cheeks said with a wry smile. "Because once it's full-blown, there's not a whole lot you can do."

More information

To learn more, visit the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society.



SOURCES: Maurice Cheeks, head coach, Philadelphia 76ers; N. Lawrence Edwards, M.D., chairman, Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, and vice chair, department of medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Thousands of Womens Basketball Referees to Wear Pink Whistles February 8-17; Calling For a Cure Program to Raise Funds for Cancer Research
2. Sharing Miracles Television Program to Feature North Carolina State Womens Basketball Coach Kay Yow
3. CCH White Paper Details Subprime Crisis, Wider Effects
4. Labopharm announces details for first quarter results conference call and annual meeting
5. Study Details New Molecular Approach to Preventing Alzheimers
6. American Cancer Society report details cancer prevention efforts
7. Young Innovations, Inc. Provides First Quarter Conference Call Details
8. CryoLife Announces Release Date and Teleconference Call Details for First Quarter 2008 Financial Results
9. Study details cost-effectiveness of rheumatoid arthritis treatments for Medicare recipients
10. Haemacure Announces Details of its Annual General and Special Meeting of Shareholders
11. Hillenbrand Industries Announces Formal Board Approval of Separation by Means of Share Distribution and Details for Completion
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout 
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) ... will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research ... anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce they ... to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers provides ... life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever ... Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work ... Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital ... area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has ... have already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Today, ... stem (iPS) cells and other difficult to transfect cells, announces its launch of ... PluriQ™ G9™ Gene Editing System is a complete system for culturing and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... develops, markets and sells medical devices and wearable sleep ... a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management ... on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet ... agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical ... Preservative), Formulation (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast ... The global pharmaceutical excipients ... 2021 at a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: