The Purine Research Society (PRS) was founded to support research aimed at furnishing a biochemical explanation for the mechanism through which enzyme defects result in clinical diseases. Researchers believe this to be the most direct route to providing diagnostic capabilities and identifying potentially useful treatments.
Three surveys have shown that between 11% to 28% of children with autism excrete excessive uric acid during their childhood years, a phenomenon that diminishes or disappears with the onset of puberty. There also are a number of single case reports of hyperuricosuria in children with autism in the literature. In spite of extensive research, how hyperuricosuria relates to autistic symptoms has never been established. One study suggested that this temporary phenomenon may be due to a defect in purine nucleotide interconversion, as shown by an abnormal ratio of adenine to guanine nucleotides. Further research is needed to determine the meaning of why this secondary lab abnormality is found in several types of autism.
A single study has described four unrelated children with a developmental disorder with low levels of uric acid in the urine due to increased enzyme activity related to pyrimidine salvage. A double blind study indicated that the children�s symptoms could be reversed by uridine. However the current diagnostic test is expensive and labor-intensive, not suitable for screening. Duplication of this study and development of an inexpensive screening test is needed.
One of the better known diseases of purine metabolism is still without effective treatment for self-mutilation. This is the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, an X-linked recessive disorder caused by a deficiency in a purine salvage enzyme. Although more than 300 disease-associated mutations in the HPRT1 gene have been identified, at present treatments remain merely symptomatic.
This is a bad news/good news chapter. It looks at the threats to our health in our society today and how I have developed my Health First program to deal with them.
The Bad News
Obesity has become a major, worldwide health problem. Whether in Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, or many other countries, the number of people who are either significantly overweight or obese is daunting. As you know, there is a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes worldwide. In the vast majority of cases, the cause is significant weight gain or obesity.
According to the National Cancer Institute, lack of physical activity is a proven risk factor for breast cancer. It is also implicated in colon cancer and prostate cancer.
Those who are sedentary are also more likely to have higher blood pressure than those who are physically active and exercise regularly. And, as many of you know, the majority of strokes are caused by high blood pressure.
Our food is too rich in bad fats, sugar, and starches. Diseases linked to diet cause three out of every four deaths in America. These diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes. However, eating a diet that contains five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy, active lifestyle can lower your risk of getting any of these diseases.
Even if you’re not overweight, a poor diet can result in high cholesterol, and this can lead to heart disease and stroke. These two diseases also increase the risk of dementia.
One of the more alarming realities is that doctors are now seeing an increase in the number of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes due to obesity. A key insight, not generally acknowledged yet critical to the fight against childhood obesity, is role modeling by parents. Studies have clearly shown that, in most cases, when parents are at a healthy weight, are physically active, and exercise regularly, their children follow suit and are not overweight or obese.
The Health First program is aimed at adults, but it can also be used by those who are in their late teens.
You’ve heard it a million times before: Eat less and exercise more.
So … why don’t we? Maybe it’s because it seems too hard. Food portions have become excessive, both in restaurants and in packaged goods on grocery store shelves. Many people complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise due to the hectic pace of their lives. It is also common for people to reject the idea that anything can happen to them until they are faced with a diagnosis of prediabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Many of my patients, still free from disease but with a body mass index (BMI) in the obesity category or in the high end of the overweight category, understood their risks and embraced the Health First program to prevent lifestyle diseases from ever affecting them.
Creating the motivation to do something about poor lifestyle is the first challenge I address through the Health First program. I’d like to walk you through the following simple exercise.
Think of people nearest to you who have a chronic health condition (this can include you). Using their names, list each person’s illness.
What did you find? I’m willing to bet you identified heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, stroke, breast and colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease on your list. These are among today’s most common diseases. If you’re either in the high-end overweight and are not physically active, your risk of getting these illnesses is significantly increased.
For some individuals, genetic factors may figure in the etiology (causation) of these diseases, but genetic history does not always predict disease destiny. By choosing a healthier lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting these diseases, even if your genes make you more susceptible to them.
The Good News
But here’s the good news: Following the Health First program will dramatically reduce your risk of today’s most prevalent lifestyle diseases.
If you need to lose weight and already have …
• Type 2 diabetes, it will help you significantly improve your blood sugars and reduce your risk of developing the complications of the disease.
• High blood pressure related to lifestyle choices, it will help you lower your blood pressure and, in some cases, allow you to reduce or stop your blood pressure medication for good (but only under your own doctor’s supervision)
• Osteoarthritis, it has the potential to diminish your pain and possibly reduce your future need for hip or knee replacements
• Breast cancer, it will decrease your chances of recurrence
The Health First program is not a magic pill, but success is easier than you think. By following the program as outlined in this book, you’ll be healthier, dramatically reduce your risk of getting many diseases, and feel revitalized.
This is not just another diet book. The Health First program is not just about weight loss – it’s about your health. With so much riding on your health, I believe you owe it to yourself and those who love you to transform your life, one step at a time. My patients – regardless of age – have done it, and you can, too.
The Next Steps for You
Why do you want to lose weight?
• Is it to decrease your risk of developing a particular disease?
• Is it to decrease your risk of complications from a particular disease you already have, such as blindness resulting from diabetes?
• Is it to reduce the likelihood of having another heart attack?
• Is it to increase your energy level?
You may want to ask yourself another question regarding your commitment to this program. Rate yourself, with 10 being most confident or motivated.
If you scored 7 or greater, your chance of success will be high. If you scored below 7, try to identify barriers that you believe will keep you from committing to the program. Then determine what it would take for you to rate yourself a 7 or greater. Could one of the barriers be that you’ve tried to lose weight and commit to an exercise program many times in the past and were unsuccessful? Or perhaps that you lost weight before but gained it back?
The Health First program is different. It is simple to follow, focuses on reducing your risk of getting many diseases, improves your sense of well-being, and provides you with a great deal more energy and vitality. The techniques for maintaining your weight loss are very practical. They have worked for many people. So join in, and be transformed!
Once you feel motivated to act and to take control of your health, the next step is to take some very simple baseline measurements. In my clinic, I use two simple tools: a tape measure and a scale.
Weight and height measurements allow me to calculate a patient’s body mass index (BMI), and the tape measure allows me to measure their waist circumference. These measurements help me determine their risk of disease. (I will collect other information that also helps determine risk. These include blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, family history, and smoking history.)
For a copy of a restricted purine cookbook go to http://www.gout-haters.com.