News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Having it out with Gout

14 July 2014

Having it out with Gout

For gout sufferers, the inflammatory affliction can cause feelings of embarrassment, denial, guilt and a lot of pain. Issue 3 of Pacific Peoples Health describes how New Zealand has been tagged the ‘Gout Capital of the World’ with many people suffering from the form of arthritis, caused by elevated uric acid levels in the blood.

Growing research shows genetics is the main reason gout is far more prevalent in Pacific and Maori than other ethnicities, with 6% of Maori and 8% Pacific people affected compared to 3% of Europeans, and men are more likely to get gout than women.

Due to the stigma surrounding gout, some people feel ashamed to admit they have it.

Arthritis NZ Chief Executive Officer Sandra Kirby suspects a number of myths about gout contribute to the shame.

“Included in those myths about gout is the concept of too much rich food and too much alcohol,” Sandra explains.

“While food and alcohol do contribute for Maori and Pacific people, there’s a strong genetic connection. There’s also the dangerous misconception that there’s not much you can do if you get gout and it will go away anyway.”

University of Otago Associate Professor Tony Merriman became interested in gout and its impact while researching rheumatoid arthritis.

He says genetics is the main reason behind the high incidence of gout in Pacific and Maori people as they have naturally higher levels of uric acid, the primary cause of gout.

Initial results from his research show a specific genetic variant within a gene called SLC2A9 approximately doubles your risk of gout if you are of European descent.

But if you’re of Maori or Pacific ancestry, your chance of gout increases by more than five times.

He stresses that prevention is obviously key when dealing with gout.

“Prevention relieves the burden on the sufferer and their family and given gout primarily affects working age men, this will have positive effects on Pacific and Maori communities, and lead to reduction of health disparities,” he says.

Although a serious problem, gout is preventable, and it can be effectively treated by medicines.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important as untreated gout can cause major and permanent joint damage.

Uric acid medicines are available to bring uric acid levels down, which need to be taken daily even during a gout attack, while gout attack medicines treat gout attacks – these medicines are taken when a gout attack is coming on or if in pain.

Keeping to a healthy weight can also help reduce uric acid and therefore gout, as can eating three meals each day, choosing small servings of meat and seafood, eating low-fat dairy foods daily and drinking lots of water, and less alcohol.

Pharmacists, GPs or doctor’s nurses can help determine the right gout treatment for each individual, and patients are more likely to make lifestyle changes if they understand their condition.

About Pacific Peoples Health
Pacific Peoples Health is a FREE Publication targeting Pacific people in New Zealand. Educating and informing Pacific health service users, it is New Zealand's only publication dedicated solely to Pacific people's health.

Pacific Peoples Health Winter Edition Available Now
Read for Free Online at www.pacificpeopleshealth.co.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: Henry Rollins Burning Down The House

With his lantern jaw, close-cropped hair, and muscle-bound physique, Henry Rollins could not be further from the US Marine image his appearance might suggest. More>>

A Series Of Tubes: 150 Years Of The Cook Strait Cable

“It was a momentous achievement for its time. The successful connection came on the third attempt at laying the cable, and followed a near disaster when the first cable snapped - almost destroying the ship Weymouth in the process,” says Ms Adams. More>>

ALSO:

February 2017: Guns N' Roses - New Zealand Dates Announced

Founder Axl Rose and former members, Slash and Duff McKagan have regrouped for one of the century’s most anticipated tours... Rolling Stone said: "This was the real thing, the thing we'd all been waiting for: the triumphant return of one of the most important bands to cross rock music history. And it happened in our lifetime.” More>>

Werewolf: Brando, Peckinpah And Billy The Kid

Gordon Campbell: Initially, One-Eyed Jacks was supposed to have been directed by Stanley Kubrick from a script by Sam Peckinpah – yet it quickly became Brando’s baby... More>>

Book Awards: ANZAC Heroes Wins Margaret Mahy Book Of The Year

“Simply stunning, with gold-standard production values,” say the judges of the winner of this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. ANZAC Heroes is also the winner of the Elsie Locke Award for the Best Book in the Non-Fiction category. More>>

Baby Animals: Hamilton Zoo Rhino Calf Named

Hamilton Zoo’s latest rhino calf has been named Samburu and he's being celebrated with a unique zoo experience... Samburu arrived after his mother Kito’s 16-month pregnancy and the calf brings the number of white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo to six. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news