Posted on Aug 06, 2020, 7 p.m.
According to an analysis published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, the prevalence of gout has increased around the globe at an concerning rate from 1990 to 2017.
Gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis that is typically characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in the joints. According to this report there were approximately 41.2 million prevalent cases in 2017, and with the new rate of diagnosed cases being 92 per 100,000 people there was an increase of 5.5% from the 1990 numbers.
Gout can affect anyone, but in this report it was found to be more common in male and older populations, and the burden of gout was generally highest in the most developed regions and countries with a high BMI and imparied kidney function being risk factors for gout.
"The increasing trend of gout burden is most likely to continue as the global aging population is on the rise," said senior author Emma Smith, Ph.D., of The University of Sydney, in Australia. "Attempts to lessen the disease onset and future burden of gout require better awareness, especially of risk factors, and early diagnosis and treatment."
Although alarming, the encouraging news is that almost all cases of gout are treatable, as gout is one of the very few treatable and preventable forms of arthritis. Gout is sometimes confused with calcium pyrophosphate depositions, however the crystals that irritate the joints in this condition are crystal not uric acid. Medical history, a physical exam, blood tests, and an X-ray, MRI or ultrasound may be used in diagnosis. Additionally fluids may be removed from the painful joint to determine whether crystals, acids, or bacteria are causing an infection.
Medications may be prescribed to help with painful gout attacks. Most always lifestyle changes are recommended to treat gout. Patients are often advised to drink lots of water, avoid alcohol, beer, sugary drinks, and foods that are rich in purine to help reduce uric acid build up. For those with gout adopting more healthy lifestyle habits are key to an effective gout treatment plan. Self care is important which includes, regular exercise, losing weight, limiting high purine foods, and maintaining a healthy diet to help avoid repeated gout attacks.
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