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What is Gout?

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To answer the question “What is Gout?” in simple terms, it is a complex (Inflammatory) form of arthritis. It is caused by an unusual buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints due to defective metabolism. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines, which is a part of many foods that we eat. Due to a defect in metabolism, Uric Acid turns into crystals in joints, which may cause a painful gout attack, kidney stones or even kidney failure.

Types of Gout

There is mainly two types of Gout – Tophaceous Gout and Pseudogout. Although the symptom of both type of gout seem similar, close medical inspection proves differences between them. Tophaceous gout (or chronic tophaceous gout) generally occurs right after inflammation, and patients experience gout attacks or flare-ups within very short periods of intervals. Whereas Pseudogout is sudden gout attacks or flare-ups and/or swelling in one or more joints.

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Gout – The King’s Disease

Gout is also historically known as “the king’s disease” or “rich man’s disease” as it was associated with a number of monarchs including Henry VIII. The popular belief was that the excessive eating and drinking by the rich people cause uric acid build-up, a waste product formed by the breakdown of food, beer, and wine.

History of Gout

Gout has been recognized at least since the time of the ancient Egyptians in 2640 BC. They identified it as podagra (acute gout occurring in the first metatarsophalangeal joint) was later recognized by Hippocrates in the fifth century BC, who referred to it as ‘the unwalkable disease’.

Current Trend of Gout

In recent years, the number of patients hospitalized due to gout has increased significantly (Almost 80% in New Zealand and England). Obesity, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking are considered to be the highest contributing factor behind these soaring numbers.   

Various studies have also found a connection between gout and the chance of suffering from other health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. This is probably due to the fact that all of these chronic diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices. So if you are suffering from gout and don’t want to experience another painful gout attack, there no other alternative than taking control of your life.

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