5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gout

May 22 is Gout Awareness Day, a chance to raise awareness about a condition that affects over 9 million Americans. Despite the condition’s prevalence, many people don’t know much about this debilitating form of arthritis.

Curious about gout? Here are five facts to boost your knowledge:

  1. Gout has been called the “disease of kings”
    Historically, gout has been called the “disease of kings” because it was associated with wealthy people, like King Henry VIII, who could afford diets high in meat, seafood and alcohol. While certain foods may worsen the condition, experts now know that food is not the primary cause.

  2. Uric acid is the culprit behind gout flare-ups
    Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid is a normal waste product that is dissolved in the blood and passed through the kidneys into urine. But if there is an increase in uric acid or the kidneys can’t eliminate it from the body, it can cause a gout flare.

  3. Women get gout too
    Although gout more commonly affects older men, women can get gout as well. Most often, women experience gout later in life, typically after menopause, when their estrogen levels decline. Estrogen is a hormone that can help support kidney function, which plays a crucial role in uric acid processing.

  4. Gout isn’t limited to the big toe
    The big toe is the most common place for gout attacks to happen. But the buildup of uric acid crystals that leads to a gout attack can affect any joint in the body.

  5. There is relief in gout treatments
    Although there is no cure for gout, there are treatments available to manage it. Medications that lower uric acid levels are an important part of the treatment process.

Learn more by joining the Gout Support Group of America Facebook group, where you can ask questions, offer support and find community.