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The Truth About Gout

Does it feel like you stepped on a cactus or spikey thorns? Are you experiencing tingling, pins-and-needles, or painful sensations in your hands and feet?  Just, as you’re getting ready for bed or trying to sleep, you feel a sudden, throbbing pain in your big toe, gout has struck. Gout is called ‘the disease of kings’ because for hundreds of years it has been associated with living a ‘rich lifestyle’. As a result, there is a stigma to having gout that is really misplaced.

What is gout?1-4

Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis in which small crystals form inside and around the joints related to high levels of uric acid. High uric acid levels can lead to painful, swollen, or stiff joints, heat, redness, and tenderness. Gout symptoms come and go (recur) in episodes called flares or gout attacks.

1. Gout does not only affects the big toe.

While the big toe is the most common place for a gout attack, it can also affect other joints in the feet, ankles, hands, elbows, wrists, fingers, and knees.

2. Even non-drinkers get gout.

Alcohol can contribute to getting gout, but those who abstain from alcohol can suffer from it as well. Diet, lifestyle, genetics or family history, and obesity are known risk factors for gout, as are untreated hypertension, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and underactive thyroid.

3. People with gout cannot eat meat

Some meats like chicken, turkey, duck, and pork are OK in moderation, but it is best to avoid things like red meat (beef, lamb), organ meats, and game meats.”

4. Women are not immune to gout.

Many envision only older men when it comes to gout. But while it’s true that 9 out of 10 people with gout are in indeed men older than 40, women get gout too, and typically only after menopause. Women typically become affected in their later years when their oestrogen levels decrease. Less oestrogen equals more uric acid.

5. Gout is a rare condition.

While it might not be the most talked about condition out there, it’s a relatively common one, especially for men and older adults.

References:
  1. Poonam Sachdev (28 June 2022). WebMD: Gout: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of Gout. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-gout
  2.  Stella Bard and James McIntosh (8 November 2023). Medical New Today: What to know about gout. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/144827
  3. Alana Biggers, Tricia Kinman and Stephanie Watson (8 March 2023). Health Line: Gout: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/gout
  4. Sarah F. Keller (November 2020). MSD Manual – Consumer Version: Gout. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/gout-and-calcium-pyrophosphate-arthritis/gout
  5. Kristen Lee, (February 2023). American College of Rheumatology: Gout. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://rheumatology.org/patients/gout
  6. Lance Silverman (12 March 2021). Arthritis-health: All About Gout – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/gout/all-about-gout-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment
  7. Sarah Klemm and Barbara Gordon (5 May 2022). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Gout. Accessed 14 December 2023 Available from: https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/gout/all-about-gout-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment

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