Debunking 5 Common Myths About Gout

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Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that usually attacks the big toe. According to a study performed by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1-2% of the adult population in the U.S. has experienced or is experiencing gout. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding this condition, leading many people down the wrong path. Here we’re going to debunk 5 gout myths, revealing the truth about this all-too-common inflammatory condition.

Myth #1) Gout Only Attacks The Big Toe

Roughly half of all cases of gout involve the big toe (known as prodagra), but the fact is that it can occur within any joint in the human body. The high concentration of uric acid deposits gather in the affected joint to form crystals, at which point the body responds with inflammation, pain, tenderness and limited mobility/flexibility.

Myth #2) Only Obese People Suffer From Gout

Yes, obesity is a risk factor of gout, but it’s not the direct cause of this condition. People of all shapes and sizes – big and small – can succumb to gout. Don’t assume you’re immune to gout just because you maintain a healthy weight. Whether you’re big, small or anywhere in between, this condition can strike anyone at any given time.

Myth #3) Gout Is an Acute Form Arthritis

Many people believe that gout is nothing more than an acute form of arthritis. Technically, it is a form of arthritis, but there’s nothing acute about it. If you’ve ever experienced gout before, you’re probably well aware of just how painful it can be. Depending on which joint (or joints) it affects, gout can make normal everyday routines like walking, lifting, etc. next to impossible.

Myth #4) Gout Is Rare

Contrary to what some people may believe, gout is not a rare condition by any means. As stated above, gout affects an estimated 1-2% of the American population, which translates into roughly 3 million adults at any given time. Some of the factors known to play a role in the prevalence of gout include age, race, gender and time of year (gout is more common in the spring as opposed to the winter months).

Myth #5) There’s No Effective Treatment For Gout

While there’s no known cure for gout, there are numerous treatment methods which can reduce both the frequency and severity of a gout attack. The root cause of gout is the overproduction of  uric acid; therefore, taking drugs designed to reduce uric acid in the body can help individuals manage their gout more easily. Other effective treatment options include ice, compression, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and therapeutic massages.

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