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Is Gout Getting Younger?

October 12, 2012 by Lisa.

Harry Kewell
Harry Kewell
Long ago Gout was a disease of the rich, also known as the "Disease of Kings". It was known to strike the wealthy, who were the only ones who could afford rich food and wine. Over the years, access to all types of foods has improved greatly but unfortunately, episodes of gout have risen with it. Over the past few decades the number of people suffering from gout or hyperuricemia (high blood uric acid) is growing at an alarming rate. Gout affects 1-2% of the Western population at some point in their lives. Although men between the ages of 40 and 50 and post menopausal women are the most likely to develop Gout, the age group of gout patients is beginning to get younger and younger. It is becoming more common among men and women in their 30's and is beginning to show up in 20-somethings and even teenagers!

Although gout in young people is often caused by a genetic condition, patients who are overweight and have high blood pressure are at a greater risk. A study published in Arthritis Care and Research found that obese men and women are more likely to develop gout at a younger age. The researchers looked at data of over 15,000 people between the ages of 13 and 87 that were part of a larger study examining cancer and heart disease. During the follow up period, 517 people from the subset reported having developed gout. At the start of the study, 16% of the participants were obese. The study found that the onset of gout began 11 years earlier in those who were obese at the age of 21. The study also found that obese participants were almost twice as likely to develop gout over an 18 year period as non-obese participants. Other studies have shown that weight loss can reduce the risk of gout.

It's no secret that obesity in young people is on the rise. Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States; triple the rate from just one generation ago. High Fructose Corn Syrup found in sugary drinks and other junk foods may be a large contributing factor to the growing obesity epidemic and has also been shown to contribute to gout. Obese youth are also at a higher risk for many diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes and gallstones to name a few. Teaching children healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight could help prevent future gout attacks. Although diet may play a large role in preventing gout attacks in younger people, prescription Colchicine can help treat the pain of a current gout attack reducing inflammation caused by uric acid build up.

Filed under: Gout Arthritis, Gout Risk.

Tags: gout, king of disease, obese, obesity, uric acid, suffering from gout, develop gout, risk of gout, gout attack, prescription colchicine.

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