Skip to content

All About Gout

  • by

“Like you stuck your foot into a flaming charcoal brazier,” is how one family member once described the pain of his first attack of gout.

Once called ‘the disease of kings’ because it tended to strike wealthy, overindulgent individuals like Henry VIII, gout is a form of arthritis in which crystals of a substance called uric acid accumulate in joints— often beginning with the big toe. But the condition is most definitely not just a historical footnote. In fact, the prevalence of gout has been on the upswing in the past 25 years or so, and it now affects an estimated four percent of Canadian adults (mostly over age 50), making it four times as common as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Nor is gout a disease that affects only the rich, or decadent — while lifestyle does indeed play a role, even people who eat an exemplary diet can nonetheless develop it. And not only can it cause damage to the joints if it’s not properly controlled, it can lead to kidney failure, too.

Thankfully, we now understand a good deal more about the risk factors that can predispose someone to develop gout than we did just a decade ago. And in the past few years, for the first time in decades, new treatments for treating it have come onto the market.

Want to find out more about this form of arthritis? Read this health feature I wrote for Good Times in 2013: ‘All About Gout.’ 

A big thank-you to all of the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise with me for the piece:

For more information, check out this page on The Arthritis Society’s website.

Image created by brgfx courtesy of freepik