Rates of gout in UK soaring

The prevalence of gout – traditionally associated with too much port and an unhealthy lifestyle – is soaring in the UK, according to a study.

One in 40 people in the UK is affected, according to analysis of 15 years of results, in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal.

The disease, which particularly affects the overweight, can be countered by lifestyle changes.

But researchers say not enough people are getting access to medication.

Gout is a type of arthritis, caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.

Crystals of sodium urate produced by the body can form inside joints and can cause sudden and severe pain, together with swelling and redness.

Common among overweight

It usually affects the big toe but can develop in any joint.

And even though it was traditionally linked to “good living” among the wealthy, it can affect anyone.

However, it is more common in people who are overweight or obese and in those who have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Drinking too much beer or spirits can also increase the risk, but the condition can be managed through changes in lifestyle, like losing weight.

There is also medication available which lowers levels of uric acid.

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