Gouty arthritis is on the rise in America. It’s the most common type of inflammatory arthritis among middle-aged and older men and, increasingly, women, and is considered one of the most painful physical afflictions known.
Gouty arthritis occurs because humans lack a liver enzyme, uricase, which is needed to break down and regulate uric acid. Uric acid is a normal waste product of purines which are found in many foods such as shellfish, organ meats, and even beer (in the brewer’s yeast and hops).
Since uric acid is not broken down in the human liver, the kidneys are required to attempt this process, for which they are poorly designed. Thus the escaping uric acid becomes uric salts crystals that are deposited in joints, tendons and surrounding tissue. At this point the deposits and ensuing needle-like pain are known as gout.
As journalist John-Manuel Andriote has written on TheAtlantic .com, gout has generally been viewed as an old-fashioned disease since several historical personages suffered from it, including Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, King Henry VIII and “Piero The Gouty” of the famed Florentine Medici family.
Benjamin Franklin, says Andriote, at age 74 penned a dialogue in 1780 between himself and “Madam Gout,” pleading to know, “What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings?” Gout replied, “Many things; you have ate and drank too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.”
The number of people afflicted with gout has doubled in the US in the past few decades, and is “also markedly increasing in prevalence in other countries with established and emerging economies,” reports Nature magazine.
According to Richard J. Johnson, head of the division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado-Denver, part of this is due to the “overwhelming” evidence that the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) increases the risk for gout. The use of HFCS in virtually all processed foods makes it hard to avoid.
What to do to help prevent a gouty attack is simple – watch what you eat, and keep well hydrated to help out those kidneys.
Meanwhile, when you experience a gouty arthritis attack in your hands and you find it difficult to write, use an ergonomic pen. The UGLee Pen is designed to make holding the pen comfortable, as this pen actually “grips you,” thus preventing stress on already painful tendons and joints.
Read The Atlantic article here.