Gout is a common form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid (hyperuricemia) in the blood. The human body produces uric acid during the metabolism of purines which are present in most foods like seafood and that too, at very high levels.
Crystals of uric acid are formed in the joints when the level of uric acid in the blood gets high. These crystals are needle-shaped and it tends to build up in the joint of the big toe of people who are susceptible to gout which results in causing pain and inflammation. The pain can be in intense levels which make a person with gout impossible to walk or even lay a sheet over the paining joints.
Is Gout Common?
According to studies, almost 8.3 million people who live in the US are estimated to be affected by gout, which equates to almost one in twenty-five adults. Also, men are most affected by this condition than women. Gout is a common condition in the United States than many other conditions that are well known, like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
The condition affects more people than conditions like multiple sclerosis, peanut allergies, celiac disease combined.
Why is a Stigma Present?
Gout appears to be a common condition in the US from the 1970s to the 1990s. One of the main factors for this can be the rising obesity rates which can often increase the risk of having high blood pressure. Also, a few drugs taken by people for managing hypertension are also seen to increase gout. In addition to this, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is increased by obesity which, in turn, increases the risk of gout.
Despite the rising number of people suffering from gout, many people have no idea about the condition and those who experience the condition often feel embarrassed to discuss it. This is a concerning issue because if gout is left untreated, it can increase the risk of other conditions like kidney stones and cardiovascular diseases. Gout is a very painful condition, and people should not have the feeling that they need to experience it as long as treatments are available.
Studies conducted during the past years that examined the impact of this condition on the lives of men concluded that “embarrassment, stigma, and shame lead to a trivialization of the impact of this condition despite its severity.”