Optimum Clinical Research
As winter gets under way, valley dwellers are gearing up to find their favorite mountain getaways, where they’ll be carving, skiing, ice climbing, snow camping or snow shoeing. For them, cooler temperatures could not come soon enough.
However, Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt, a gout sufferer, meets the cold with chagrin.
Because cooler temperatures activate gout-causing agents in the blood, for him, colder weather means more intense and more frequent bouts of inflammatory arthritis.
“I try not to let it affect my life,” Schmidt said. “But if there’s something coming up at the end of the week, I’ll drink water all week long so I can be ready for it.”
Schmidt said drinking water helps flush his system of uric acid, which, if given the chance to accumulate, can form double-edged crystals that lodge themselves in joints and cause excruciating arthritic pain.
“When I have a gout flare-up, it’s debilitating,” he said. “Sometimes it would feel better to cut off my foot with a chainsaw than deal with the pain.”
Schmidt later added that he has never really considered taking a drastic action — like cutting off an apendage, but that it would definitely compare to the pain gout causes.
He also said that taking certain medications, like Uloric and Allopurinol, helps prevent gout episodes. Uloric and Allopurinol facilitate the excretion of enzymes that form uric acid, called purines, by breaking them down.
Salt Lake City-based Optimum Clinical Research is currently studying the effectiveness of Uloric and Allopurinol in lowering levels of uric acid in the body. Their hypothesis: If gout sufferers maintain uric acid levels below 6 percent, they will reduce the risk of hospitalization due to chest pain, heart attack and stroke.
The nationwide study started last year and targets men older than 50 and women older than 55 years who are diagnosed with gout and who either have risks or a history of cardiovascular events.
“We’re doing this research ultimately because we want to improve the quality of life for people who have gout,” said Jared Shields, the recruitment and marketing coordinator at Optimum Clinical Research.
Shields, who is also the clinical research facilitator for the study, said proving their hypothesis could lead to a higher quality of life for people who suffer from gout.
“Gout causes inflammation, which can not only be extremely painful, but also detrimental,” Shields said. “Anything that can decrease that could have body-wide benefits.”
The study targets people who are middle-aged and older because as the body ages, its ability to remove uric acid diminishes, so gout episodes typically become more intense.
Schmidt said gout episodes in his 20s usually only lasted one or two days, but now, in his 50s, he experiences episodes that last up to two weeks.
“It can be a debilitating problem,” he said. “I can honestly say in my 30 years of work history, the only time I've ever missed work was because of gout.”
Shields said those interested in participating in the research that may help others control and minimize can contact the clinical facility by calling 801-363-7353.
Logan Bradford earned a degree in communications from Brigham Young University and is a public relations account coordinator for prmarketing.com, which represents Optimum Clinical Research.
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