Gout has been described by the Daily Mail as something, “usually associated with port-swilling, over-fed elderly men of the 19th century”. Recent research carried out at the Boston University School of Medicine, however, has found that the incidence of gout in the US is on the rise. Thus, the condition is clearly not something that only affects this stereotype.
But what actually is gout and why is the incidence of the condition increasing?
What is gout?
Gout is a rheumatic disease, which means it involves inflammation (such as redness, swelling and pain) of the joints, tendons, ligaments and so forth.
The condition usually affects the base of the big toe. The toe may swell and cause severe pain in the joint. Symptoms can, however, affect any joint in the body.
Other commonly affected joints include:
- Fingers and small joints in the hand
Gout may come in so-called “attacks”. This is where the symptoms rapidly worsen in 6-24 hours and continue for around 3-10 days.
Is the incidence of gout increasing?
Several researchers have suggested that gout is on the rise in the US.
Most recently, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have stated that the incidence of gout has risen significantly in the US over the last 20 years.
The increase may have been going on much longer than this. Earlier research published in the Journal of Rheumatology compared 1995-1996 with 1977-1978 and found that there had been a significant increase over this period.