Gout still prevalent in Canadians today

Traditionally known to affect wealthy individuals that indulged in too much wine, pork and red meat, gout, according to an article on Canada.com, has been referred to as “the king of diseases and the disease of kings.” Today however, it is more likely to attract a chuckle or two from people who have never suffered from it.

Despite being an age-old condition, gout still affects two per cent of Canadian women and five to six per cent of Canadian men. In the U.K., the prevalence of gout increased roughly four per cent each year between 1997 and 2012; sufferers are commonly overweight or may have high blood pressure or diabetes. Although a combination of factors have resulted in the increased incidence, if you are obese—beware; this is considered a dominant factor.

Gout is categorized as a type of arthritis where uric acid builds up in the blood resulting in the formation of sodium uratecrystals inside joints. You are most likely to get gout in your big toe, but it can develop in other joints and causes intense pain, swelling and redness around the joint which can last from a few days to a few weeks. Your condition can be further complicated by bunions or underlying arthritis.

Your podiatrist can provide an accurate diagnosis and a recommended course of action. You may need blood tests and x-rays to confirm the diagnosis. Immediate relief can be provided with the use of deflective padding or shoe modifications; however, you will need prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for an acute attack of gout.

Where inflammation persists or joint damage has occurred, your podiatrist may advise surgical intervention to remove crystal deposits and to improve joint function. Long-term, you can manage your condition with lifestyle changes, weight loss and elimination of alcoholic drinks and foods high in uric acid from your diet.

If you have suffered gout you will know it is not a laughing matter; however, effective management by your podiatrist and other professionals will resolve your gout.