Jim Shannon MP and Emeritus Professor George Nuki, trustee of the UK Gout Society yesterday at the House of Commons parliamentary reception launching #shoutaboutgout
1 in 40 in the UK are living with gout
Today (28th November 2017), the UK Gout Society will join forces with Assembly Members, doctors and other charities to help raise awareness of gout – the most common form of inflammatory arthritis worldwide, which now affects one in 40 people in the UK.1
Speaking at a parliamentary event in the National Assembly for Wales later today, Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, will remark: “People with gout have been caricatured and even laughed at through the centuries. The truth is that for people living with the condition, it is anything but funny.”
Gout is in fact an extremely painful condition, which left untreated may lead to joint and kidney damage, permanent disability and an increased risk of death.2 It is caused by crystals of uric acid being deposited in the tissues when there is too much uric acid in the bloodstream, which cannot be effectively removed from the kidneys. Gout is often associated with many other serious health conditions including obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.2 Between 1997 and 2012 the prevalence of gout in the UK rose by 64%.1
The campaign hopes to encourage people affected by gout, their friends and family, to share their experiences of gout via social media by using the hashtag #shoutaboutgout. The UK Gout Society hopes that this will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding the disorder e.g., that it is entirely self-inflicted and not a serious problem; and one that only affects older wealthy men who eat rich foods and drink too much alcohol.
“Gout can occur any time after puberty in men but seldom before the menopause in women. Sometimes there is a family history of the disorder,” says George Nuki, Emeritus Professor of Rheumatology, University of Edinburgh, and trustee of the UK Gout Society.
“While modifying diet and lifestyle may help, gout can only be effectively treated and prevented by long-term treatment with prescription medications that lower the level of uric acid in the blood. Unfortunately, we know that prescription, monitoring and adherence to these ‘potentially curative’ medications continues to remain a significant problem,” he adds.
According to recent research, less than one in five people with gout are prescribed uric acid lowering therapy within six months of diagnosis – and only a quarter are still receiving treatment a year after being diagnosed.1
“The impact of musculoskeletal conditions in Wales is huge and we have a big job to limit that impact. Working together to raise awareness of gout must play a part in that. We know that gout is often seriously undertreated and greatly misunderstood,” adds Rhun ap Iorwerth AM.
Director of the charity Arthritis Care Wales, Mary Cowern, said “We are pleased to support the #shoutaboutgout campaign. Gout is already the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, the numbers of people with gout are growing and prevalence is particularly high in Wales. We know how painful and debilitating a condition it can be, but we are also aware of how effective treatments can be. Timely access to the right treatments and making sure people with gout receive useful information to help them manage their condition are both vitally important.’
Mary added “We are calling for the British Society for Rheumatology’s recent guidelines for managing Gout to be fully implemented in Wales.”
Established in 2002, the UK Gout Society is the only charity in the UK solely dedicated to raising awareness of gout and providing basic support and information.
To help support the charity and generate vital funds, become a Friend of the UK Gout Society, by visiting the ‘Support Us’ page at www.ukgoutsociety.org
Note to editors:
What is gout?
Gout is a metabolic and musculoskeletal disorder that causes acute, intermittent and painful attacks of arthritis in the joints of the foot, knee, ankle, hand and wrist – especially the big toe. It results from an excess of uric acid in the blood and tissues of the body, which if present for long enough, can form into needle-like crystals which can inflame your joints and cause severe pain and swelling. Most people with gout have high levels of uric acid in their body because it hasn’t been efficiently removed by the kidneys and washed out in the urine.
Too much uric acid can also be caused by a diet rich in purines (a constituent of meat, shellfish and many foods), alcohol (especially beer), crash dieting, stress, prolonged illness, injury, or by certain medicines e.g. diuretics (water tablets) and aspirin. Other diseases associated with gout include obesity, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks, angina, stroke, peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation in the limbs – claudication), hyperlipidaemia (high levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood), psoriasis (a chronic skin condition) and kidney disease. www.ukgoutsociety.org
What are musculoskeletal disorders?
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or pain in the body’s joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back. They are degenerative diseases and inflammatory conditions that cause pain and impair normal activities. Currently, musculoskeletal conditions are the greatest cause of disability (as measured by years lived with disability) in the UK.3 www.arma.uk.net
- Kuo CF, Grainge MJ, Mallen C, Zhang W , Doherty M. Rising burden of gout in the UK but continuing suboptimal management: a nationwide population study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Apr;74(4):661-7.
- British Society for Rheumatology and British Health Professionals in Rheumatology Guideline for the Management of Gout. https://www.rheumatology.org.uk/goutguideline
- Accessed at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60355-4/fulltext
*Gout: No Laughing Matter, Parliamentary Reception, Welsh Assembly 28th November 2017, made possible with the support of Grünenthal UK Ltd who funded the logistics and refreshments.
For further information, please contact:
Secretariat, UK Gout Society