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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 00:00 GMT
Gout on the increase
Alcohol can worsen the condition
Gout, once dubbed the "disease of Kings", is now becoming more prevalent among the commoners.

But despite the fact that 250,000 people in the UK are thought to have gout, a recent survey showed that fewer than 2% understood key facts about it.

And only 1% knew it was a form of arthritis

Consultant rheumatologist Dr Michael Snaith said gout is definitely on the increase but warned that the type of sufferers are changing.


"In the 17th, 18th and 19th Century you had the wealthy people who were over indulging. Now it is the less wealthy who over indulge.

"They eat more and they drink more, but it is the better educated who look after their health better."

And he said that those who ate healthy diets were less likely to suffer from gout, unless their was a family history of the condition.

Those who are predisposed to gout are advised to reduce their intake of purine-rich foods including red meat, game, seafood (especially mussels, herrings and sardine) and alcoholic drinks, particularly beer.

Now it is the less wealthy who overindulge
Dr Michael Snaith

Its symptoms result from the accumulation of uric acid in the body. This causes an intense inflammatory reaction resulting in red, swollen and painful joints.

Dr Snaith said there was an increase in the number of gout sufferers, but said this could be because more people were going to the doctors with the unmistakeable symptoms.

A recently study from the US showed that gout had almost doubled over the last two decades and this has been linked to a rise in the number of obese people.

Dispelling myths about gout
27 Dec 02 |  Health
Welsh patients hit by gout
25 Aug 99 |  Wales
Patients appeal for arthritis drugs
18 Nov 02 |  Northern Ireland

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