Gout cases double in a decade due to the affects of obesity
Date Posted: 01.10.2012
GOUT, long considered a disease of wealthy historical figures, is making a comeback according to a study that indicates its prevalence has almost doubled in a decade.
While it has been associated with feasting royalty for centuries - most famously Henry VIII was a sufferer - today’s patients tend to be of humbler stock, say doctors.
However, the root causes of the painful condition, over-indulging in food and drink and taking too little exercise, remain the same.
Gout is the development of crystals of uric acid in and around the joint, commonly the big toe, causing excruciating pain.
A type of arthritis, it results from the build-up of uric acid in the blood when the kidneys cannot clear it out quickly enough, often due to a rich diet and too much alcohol.
Researchers in Australia looked at how common the disease was in New Zealand compared to England, for the period 1999 to 2009.
They found in England emergency admissions almost doubled from 1,875 to 3,496, an average annual increase of 7.2 per cent, faster than the New Zealand increase of 5.5 per cent per year. The study is published in the journal Rheumatology.
Anthony James, professor of neuro-rheumatology at Manchester University, told The Independent: “Essentially, gout is increasing because of bad habits.
“We drink too much, eat the wrong food, do little exercise and are overweight.”
Only a “small number” of gout patients were thin, he said.
Alcohol - and particularly beer - is a problem because it boosts the production of uric acid in the liver, and reduces how much is passed out in urine.
Gout now affects about one in 70 adults, more commonly men. A recently published article indicates eating cherries or drinking cherry juice can help reduce gout attacks.
Stephen Adams Telegraph.co.uk