Gout is spreading at a frightening rate

Long associated with affluent historical figures, gout, a medical affliction that causes severe inflammatory arthritis, is making its return. According to a recent study, cases of gout have almost doubled over the past decade. Though the disease was once considered an affliction of affluence and royalty, affecting famous figures such as King Henry VIII, these days, gout affects the commoners.

Although the types of patients that suffer from gout has changed in modern times, the causes of the affliction remain the same. Gout is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the bloodstream. When these crystals accumulate in the joints, typically in the lower body, they cause agonizing pain. The crystals themselves form when there is excess uric acid in the bloodstream that the kidneys cannot remove fast enough. High uric acid levels may be caused by unhealthy eating and over-consumption of alcohol.

Australian researchers compared the prevalence of gout in New Zealand with the prevalence of the disease in England over the decade spanning from 1999 to 2009. The research team discovered that in England, hospital admissions for gout nearly doubled from about 1,900 to just under 3,500. The average yearly increase of just over 7 percent, faster than New Zealand’s 5.5 percent increase, according to the study published in Rheumatology.

Manchester University’s Anthony James, a professor of neuro-rheumatology, stated that cases of gout are on the rise due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. About 1.5 percent of adults now suffer from gout, most of the sufferers being men. Aside from regular exercise, a healthy diet, and reducing alcohol consumption, including cherries or cherry juice in the diet can help to stave off gout.