Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by painful, stiff and inflamed joints. The stiffness and swelling are a result of excess uric acid forming crystals in your joints, and the pain associated with this disease is caused by your body's inflammatory response to the crystals.
A "disease of kings" — this was the moniker given to gout, an ailment that usually affected members of the aristocracy who overindulged on fancy food and liquor.1 King Henry VIII of England was known to have suffered from gout. Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Nostradamus, Christopher Columbus, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Dickens also fell victim to this disease.2,3
Sadly, the number of people being diagnosed with gout nowadays is slowly rising, and anyone can be affected by the disease, whether you have royal blood or not.
In the U.S., it's estimated that more than 8 million people suffer from gout, with 90 percent of them being men in their 40s or older. According to the American College of Rheumatology in 2011, gout impacted about 6 percent of males and 2 percent of females in the country.
Across the pond, the U.K. recorded a whopping 64 percent increase in gout incidence between 1997 and 2012 — that's a 4 percent rise per year. Now, 1 out of 40 people in the U.K. have the disease.While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that gout is rare as an underlying cause of death,4 this does not mean you should take it lightly. Gout attacks or "flare-ups" can be extremely painful.
Since gout is actually a type of arthritis, you can alleviate the pain that arises from a gout attack. However, prescription drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are the norm when it comes to treating gout, have been proven to do you more harm than good.
You're better off practicing holistic techniques. Not only are these methods less expensive compared to buying prescription drugs, but they also pose less health risks. Making tweaks to your daily routine can also be helpful in preventing gout, since your lifestyle is a big factor in determining your chances for being diagnosed with the disease.
Learn more about gout through this handy guide where you can find the information you need to know — how this disease affects your body, its causes, symptoms, and types, and different tips and strategies that you or your loved ones can practice to stop this illness from causing you further harm.
• Gout FAQ