According to Alliance for Gout Awareness, gout affects more than 9 million Americans. As it is important to spread the word about the disease, its debilitating effects, and how people can manage it, it is also important to learn the myths around the disease to prevent or properly treat the condition if someone gets it.
Here are 6 myths that you might believe.
1. Only Obese People Get Gout
People of all sizes can develop gout. Uric acid tends to be higher in people who are overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for gout, but that does not mean only people who are obese can get gout. In fact, genes play a greater role in gout than obesity.
2. Gout Only Affects Men
Though gout is more common in younger men than in younger women, men and women alike can develop this disease. Women tend to have lower uric acid levels when younger, however, after menopause, the uric acid level increases, which also increases the risk of gout.
3. Gout Only Affects the Big Toe
Although gout first attacks the base of the big toe, it can also attack other joints like the ankle, knee, elbow, wrist, and finger joints. The first attack often involves only 1 or 2 joints, but if it is left untreated, then over time multiple joints can get affected, as a general rule, gout works its way up the body.
4. Gout is a Rare Condition
Gout is a relatively common disease and more than 9 million Americans (which is around 4% of the population) have this painful and inflammatory condition. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis in both men and women, which is increasing over time.
5. Although Gout is Painful, It isn’t That Serious
As we all know, gout is an extremely painful condition. The pain can be so severe that wearing shoes is impossible and even tucking your toes under a bedsheet is hard. Over time, if left untreated, gout can lead to serious complications, such as permanent joint damage, kidney stones, serious kidney damage, and heart problems that are life-threatening.
6. Gout Eventually Goes Away on Its Own
Gout attacks typically last one to two weeks and then subside, but that does not mean gout has disappeared. The next gout attack can even take a month to occur and even if you are not showing symptoms, urate crystals can build up beneath the surface leading to severe health problems.
Not all the information you find on the internet is scientifically accurate. Getting professional advice is recommended rather than relying on some random online information.
If you think you have any signs or symptoms related to gout, consult with your primary care physician or an orthopedic specialist immediately to rule out the condition.