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Good week to talk about gout


Good week to talk about gout

For thousands of men in New Zealand, gout is a painful reality. “Nearly 90,000 men already have a diagnosis of gout,” says Sandra Kirby, CEO of Arthritis New Zealand.

“This number is likely to be the tip of the iceberg – we suspect that gout is underdiagnosed and under treated, because people don’t know that their foot pain is gout”.

During Men’s Health Week, it is important that health professionals talk with men about gout. Our New Zealand experience is that gout is either viewed as shameful or, particularly for younger men, confused with a sports injury. For this reason gout needs to be in conversations with physiotherapists and sports clinicians as well as GPs and practice nurses.

Gout is a common form of acute arthritis caused by an excessive build-up of uric acid in the blood. It is three times more common in men than women. The acid crystallises and results in joint inflammation. To understand the best way to treat this chronic condition and prevent the painful acute gout attacks requires education and medication as highlighted by Hon Tariana Turia last week.[i]

“Gout can have a huge impact on a man’s life and work. Because gout typically affects feet and hands the impact on work and exercise are often immediate. “

Fortunately gout can be effectively treated – medication, diet and exercise all play a part. Early diagnosis and treatment is really important. We need people to see their GP early to get gout under control. Untreated gout can cause major joint damage that is permanent. Arthritis New Zealand offers a range of services and information on gout.

ends

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