UNITED STATES—I will be the first to admit it: I’m terrified of going to the doctor just like so many other Americans! My first gut reaction when having to go to the doctor is the thought of being delivered bad news. I think that is something each and every American worries about. I’ve come to learn as I age, it is BETTER TO KNOW, THAN TO NOT KNOW!

I 100 percent agree that you know when something is wrong with your body and if you sense that and you know natural remedies will not solve the issue than it’s a sign you need to seek actual medical attention. Yes, I get the whole holistic ideology of self-medication, but there are certain things that transpire with the body, where a home remedy is not going to solve the problem. You have to visit your primary care doctor or actually head to the emergency room depending on the situation.

I found that out all to vividly this weekend, as what I first thought was a simple ankle sprain turned out to be something far more debilitating than I ever expected. I like to believe that I’m the energizer Bunny; I can keep going and going and going, but guess what I can’t. Your body will indeed tell you if you’ve done way too much and you need to take a moment to breathe. As a result, I decided to walk on my injured foot. I wish someone would have taken video of me out and about because it probably would have been hilarious. I felt fine Saturday evening, but then came Sunday morning and I thought I was literally going to burst into tears.

I cannot recall the last time I encountered such excruciating pain in my life. It seemed like the pain in my right ankle shifted to the front of my toe. My foot was swollen, and it was not in a good way. The difficult thing is I couldn’t tell at first if my foot was actually swollen or if my eyes were deceiving me. The more that I looked at my foot it became a revelation that something was terribly wrong. I took a visit to Urgent Care where, after a few questions, a few X-Rays, it was determined that the likely candidate was Gout.

Hmm, some of you may not have heard of Gout, but it’s when uric acid crystals build in the body and can impact your joints. Specifically, uric acid builds in the wrists, elbows, knee, ankle and foot. It is more common in men than women and the pain is unbearable. There are ways to cure it, medicine; others have noted cherry juice (not sweetened, lemon and water, celery seeds and celery juice and a few more home remedies. You might say what causes it? Well, sweetened drinks, fast-food, consumption of lots of meat, alcohol and seafood.

There are other ways to fight Gout through physical fitness, losing weight, consumption of coffee, vitamin C and dairy products. The one thing that this visit to the doctor taught me more than anything is that I have to take my health more serious. Not just with what I’m eating, but exercising even more than what I already do. I regularly exercise 4-5 days a week and that increase the time frame another 30 minutes or so won’t hurt. In addition, complications with your health can lead to other issues. Our bodies only operate how we treat them. If you treat your body badly, it will react badly. If you treat your body well, it will respond well.