Gout Misinformation Shaming

Gout Is No Joke: Misinformation & Shaming May Prevent People from Getting Appropriate Care

 

“Gout is so 18th century. It’s like, why don’t I get scarlet fever and syphilis as well, while I’m about it?”  – Columnist and restaurant critic Giles Coren, The Times, September 13, 2014

That’s just one of hundreds of gout jokes, cartoons and snide jabs that have been spied in the media in the last few years — and that doesn’t take into account a rich tradition of gout lampoonery dating back at least to the 18th century (Google “James Gillray”). Then or now, it’s hard to imagine another disease that gets so little respect. And that’s a problem, according to New Zealand researchers. They say the press perpetuates myths about gout that downplay its seriousness and prevent sufferers from getting treatment.
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Gout News Medication Risk

Severe Skin Reactions to Gout Drug Allopurinol Linked to Race

Americans of Asian and African descent have much higher risk than white and Hispanic Americans of developing rare but severe, sometimes life-threatening skin reactions to the gout drug allopurinol (Zyloprim), according to a new study published recently in Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

These two skin reactions, called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), cause flu-like symptoms, a widespread rash, and large portions of the upper layer of skin (including mucus membranes) to blister and detach. They can also damage other major organs. SJS and TENS, which are believed to be different manifestations of the same disorder, are usually caused by a reaction to a drug (including acetaminophen [Tylenol] and certain antibiotics).
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Gout Patient Story Football Player

Former Football Player Tackles Gout

As a former football player and wrestler who’d had three knee operations, Scott thought he knew pain. Then he had his first gout attack.

While the pain was new to him, Scott was familiar with gout because his dad had been living with it for 20 years. Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, develops in some people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood. The acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, , (tenderness and redness are not severe – focus on pain, warmth and swelling), warmth and swelling in the joints. For many people, including Scott, the first symptom of gout is excruciating pain and swelling in the big toe. Gout may also appear in another lower-body joint, such as the ankle or knee.

“Basically I described what happened, the doctor looked at my foot, told me I had gout and prescribed some pain medicine,” Scott says. “The pain medicine didn’t do much though. I stopped taking it after a few days and tried to manage around the pain.”
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Control Gout Symptoms

Get Better Control of Your Gout

Gout is one of the oldest known human diseases – dating back to 2600 BC – but a new study shows it’s a disease that patients still don’t understand very well. The study, published online in January 2016 in Arthritis Care & Research, found that just 14% of patients with this painful type of inflammatory arthritis actually knew what their uric acid level should be.

“It is an old disease for which there are really effective treatments and despite that, understanding of treatment goals is suboptimal. It is somewhat surprising,” said study author Ted Mikuls, MD, the Umbach Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Ohama. “Patients have pretty good knowledge of what causes gout and what drugs are used for, so the lack of knowledge about a treatment goal stood out.”
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Fructose Sugar Gout

Fructose and Gout: What’s the Link?

Most of us know how sugar affects our waistline. Too much of the sweet stuff contributes to obesity, and with it, diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Overdoing it on one type of sugar in particular—the high fructose corn syrup found in sodas and processed foods—can also set off painful gout. Considering that the average American eats 22 to 30 teaspoons of sugar daily, gout is yet another health risk worth noting.

Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruit and honey. High fructose corn syrup is a man-made sweetener produced from corn. It’s composed of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Why is this type of sugar harder on your joints than other forms, like glucose? “Fructose is metabolized differently from glucose,” explains Peter Simkin, MD, emeritus professor of medicine in the University of Washington School of Medicine division of Rheumatology.

As the body breaks down fructose, chemical compounds called purines are released. The breakdown of purines produces uric acid—the substance that forms painful crystals in the joints and causes gout. Within minutes after you drink high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda, your uric acid levels rise. Continue reading Fructose and Gout: What’s the Link?

Coffee Gout

Does Coffee Help or Hurt Gout?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans start their day with a cup or more of coffee. Besides its wake-up java jolt effect, coffee could be good for your health. Studies have linked regular coffee consumption with a lower risk for heart disease, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions.

Could your morning cup of Joe also help prevent bouts of painful gout? While some evidence suggests this popular beverage might help you avoid joint pain, the caffeine it contains might actually lead to more flare-ups if you already have gout.

Coffee and Gout Prevention

A 2007 study investigated the potential link between coffee intake and gout risk among nearly 46,000 men. The authors found that men who drank four to five cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower relative risk of gout compared to men who weren’t coffee drinkers. Decaf coffee also modestly lowered gout risk, but tea didn’t have any effect, suggesting that something other than caffeine is responsible for the effect on gout.
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Wine and Gout Flares

Wine Implicated in Gout Flares

Beer and hard liquor have long been known to increase the risk of gout, the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, but according to a 2014 study in The American Journal of Medicine, wine also can contribute to recurrent gout attacks.

Gout occurs when excess uric acid builds up around joints – often in the big toe, but also in the feet, ankles, knees, wrists and elbows – leading to episodes of intense pain, redness and swelling. It affects more than 8 million adults in the United States, and the numbers are rising sharply, due mainly to obesity and other lifestyle factors.

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Vitamin C Gout

Vitamin C May Help Prevent Gout

Vitamin C has been touted as a preventive for problems ranging from cancers to the
common cold. But can a daily vitamin C supplement protect you from gout? Possibly, researchers say, but results of studies on vitamin C and gout are mixed.

In a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hyon K. Choi, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, showed that the more vitamin C men took, the less likely they were to get gout.

 During the 20 years that researchers studied nearly 47,000 men, 1,317 of them developed gout. But the risk was not shared equally. For every 500-milligram increase in vitamin C intake, the risk for gout fell by 17 percent. The risk dropped by 45 percent when study participants took more than 1,500 mg of vitamin C a day.

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Weight Gout Risk

Controlling Your Weight May Be Effective For Lowering Gout Risk

If you are trying to lower your risk of gout or reduce your risk of painful attacks once you have it, one of your best defenses may be to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

“Higher weight is associated with higher uric acid levels in the blood, which therefore increases gout risk,” says Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the body and then crystallizes in the joints, causing intense and often crippling pain, inflammation, stiffness and swelling.

In 1991, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who gained excessive amounts of weight in young adulthood were more likely to develop gout later in life, with the greatest risk occurring with the highest body mass index (BMI) at age 35.

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Today is Gout Awareness Day!

National Gout Awareness Day is recognized annually on May 22 to help raise awareness around gout, a painful disease that affects approximately 8.3 million Americans.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops as a result of excess levels of uric acid in the blood, which results in a condition called hyperuricemia.. The uric acid can form needle-like crystals in a joint and cause sudden, severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth and swelling.

Although gout appears to manifest itself suddenly as an acutely red, hot and swollen joint (often the big toe) with excruciating pain, it’s actually the result of a process that’s been occurring in the body for quite some time. The disease may be chronic for some patients, and for others it may remit for long periods of time, followed by flares for days to weeks.

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