A spate of gout cases has been reported across the UK. Gout is a type of arthritis commonly associated with spreading in Victorian Britain.
However, there has been a resurgence of the disease. Around 250,000 people were hospitalized with gout over the course of 2021-22, according to the NHS – as reported by Mirror Online. Cases have increased by 20% over the past three years.
Gout can usually last between five and seven days before getting better. If treated immediately, the joints must not be permanently damaged.
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The four main symptoms to look out for include: sudden severe pain in your joint (usually the big toe, hands, wrist, elbow, or knees); hot skin; swollen joints; and redness over the affected joint. Reaching a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and having alcohol-free days are all ways to prevent gout.
Gout is known as the “disease of kings” and many medical professionals still believe that gout is caused by overconsumption. dr But Alastair Dickson, GP and Trustee of the UK Gout Society, said it was a misunderstanding.
He told the Mail Online: “There is a lack of awareness that the disease is genetic.” A May report in the Lancet Regional Health – Europe magazine found that only a minority of UK patients were within 12 months of receive preventive medication after diagnosis.
One of the authors of the report, Dr. Mark Russell, NIHR Research Fellow at King’s College London, told Good Health: “Without preventive treatment, flare-ups become more common over time and can progress into chronic arthritis that never fully resolves. Long -Long-term treatment with urea-lowering drugs such as allopurinol prevents flare-ups and joint damage in people with gout and improves quality of life.”
If left untreated, gout can often recur, and multiple flare-ups can also lead to tophi, which are large deposits of crystals under the skin that can cause joint damage and deformity.
Causes of a gout flare are:
Be male at birth
Eat a diet rich in purines, which are broken down into uric acid in your body
Sweetened beverages, sodas and high fructose corn syrup
Medications including diuretics, low-dose aspirin, some antibiotics prescribed for tuberculosis, and cyclosporine
Gout attacks are usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. However, if the pain persists, you may be prescribed steroids in pill or injection form.
To prevent it coming back, avoid eating offal such as kidney or liver or seafood, or consume lots of sugary drinks and snacks. Fatty foods should also be avoided and you should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week and spread your alcohol consumption over three days or more if you drink that much.
If you experience symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get the right diagnosis and treatment.