Medicated

Gout: An Ancient Disease of Kings, A Modern Problem for Boomers and Millennials


by Skye Sherman - July 22, 2019


Photo Credit: Colchicine, Zyloprim for gout attack, by Instagram user @ironfan.tiffany
Photo Credit: Colchicine, Zyloprim for gout attack, by Instagram user @ironfan.tiffany

Long considered the disease of kings and gluttons, gout isn’t just an ancient problem anymore. In fact, gout is affecting even our youngest generations: boomers and millennials.

While many people associate gout with old and indulgent eaters, this is not often the case. In fact, the cause of gout may not be the patient’s fault at all. Curious about how gout can affect everyone from kings to millennials? Read on!

What is gout?

Gout is a painful disease that is actually a very common form of arthritis. Gout can even be disfiguring in its worst forms. That’s because it is caused by sharp crystals forming in the joint, causing pain and irritation. These crystals can build up and make the condition progressively worse.

These crystals form because of a build-up of uric acid in the blood stream, which can happen for a variety of reasons. One reason is that your body produces too much uric acid. Another possible reason is if your kidneys fail to sufficiently filter out the uric acid in your body.

In the first case, the cause is often genetic; people with gout often have a close family member who also suffers from the condition. However, certain lifestyle choices also increase the level of uric acid in your body, which we’ll discuss in further detail later.

Usually, a gout attack is sudden and quite painful. It is characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, and at onset, it often starts out in the big toe, which can feel excrutiatingly painful.

There is also another form of gout called pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPDD). While the two conditions have many similarities, they have very different causes.

According to News-Medical.Net, “Gout often affects the big toe first, along with the elbow, wrist, and finger joints. Pseudogout, on the other hand, generally affects larger joints such as the knee or wrist. During both conditions sharp crystals form in the joint causing irritation, swelling, redness, and pain. … Pseudogout, in contrast, occurs when calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals form in a joint. Many people will form these crystals throughout their life, including nearly half of those aged over 85 years. However, most of them do not develop pseudogout. It is unclear why only some people suffer with pseudogout, but research suggests it is not caused by diet or medication.

“Symptoms of pseudogout are more common in older individuals, in people who have a history of joint trauma, individuals with mineral imbalances (including too much calcium or iron in the blood, or too little magnesium), and in those with a family history of the condition. Pseudogout may also occur at the same time as other health conditions such as pneumonia, heart conditions, stroke, and thyroid problems.”

Unfortunately, due to their irritating and swollen nature, both instances of gout can be very painful and limiting for the affected person. Because gout makes the joints painful and swollen, it can limit a person’s mobility and dramatically impact their quality of life. Gout is not a fun diagnosis, but fortunately there are things you can do to combat it.

While gout used to be considered the disease of kings--we’ll explain why later--it is increasingly affecting younger and younger people, especially boomers. Millions of Americans have suffered attacks of gout.

How does gout affect youth? Why gout is affecting boomers

The presence of gout in the boomer generation has a few possible explanations. One is the usual: gout is a genetic condition that occurs often among families who share DNA. And while there is a strong genetic link to gout, there is another major factor that contributes to gout, too: diet.

Diet and lifestyle are major factors when it comes to gout. And that’s why it may be affecting not just kings anymore, but the boomer generation. Being overweight or obese makes a person more likely to have or develop gout. In addition, those who drink a lot of alcohol--especially beer--tend to run a higher risk of getting gout.

Lastly, diets that are rich in purines and low on water can lead to higher levels of uric acid in the body, which results in gout. Foods that are rich in purines include extravagant, indulgent dishes like red meats, organ meats, alcohol, and some vegetables--in other words, the kinds of food that used to be reserved solely for royalty. That’s why gout used to be known as the king’s disease. People considered it a result of gluttony and consuming indulgent foods.

Now, as even common folk can consume these purine-rich foods, instances of gout are on the rise. People who live sedentary lifestyles and consume diets rich in meats and alcohol can be much more likely to develop a case of gout.

Now, even millennials are experiencing higher cases of gout. This young generation tends to not see such a diagnosis coming, but the reality is that it can affect anyone.

According to Friday Magazine, “Rarely do we imagine health-conscious millennials who are, as we are frequently reminded, abstaining from meat and alcohol at higher rates than any generation before them. But gout may well be on the rise among this very group, as a growing consumption of sugar and fatty foods leaves them vulnerable to the condition … A UK study examining 15 years of patient data found that gout diagnoses rose by 64 per cent between 1997 and 2012, with one in 40 people now suffering from the condition. Although most patients are still aged over 60, hospital appointments for those in their 20s and 30s complaining of gout symptoms have increased by 30 per cent since 2012, says the report.

“Millennials are the most abstemious generation alive, recent figures suggest, with those born between 1980 and 2000 shunning everything from meat to cigarettes to alcohol. … The worsening obesity epidemic is believed to be at the heart of the issue, according to Prof Alan Silman, the medical director of Arthritis Research UK. Prof Silman points particular blame at fizzy drinks, and there is almost certainly a genetic factor as well, with around one in 10 patients inheriting the condition from their parents, according to the UK Gout Society.”

And, what’s worse, it seems that younger people may be more at risk of a serious blood clot from gout.

According to WebMD, “Gout patients of any age have a 25% greater risk of developing a blood clot deep in the veins in the first 10 years after diagnosis, [a] British study found.” However, that risk was 79% higher in patients under 50 with gout. So, millennials and young people with gout or at risk of gout would do well to be very careful.

While millennials may more often abstain from meat, their increased consumption of sodas and sugary foods may be to blame for their increase in cases of gout.

Ways to prevent gout

So, what are some ways to prevent gout? How can you avoid gout, and what can you do about it once you have it? While gout is primarily based in genetics, you can also make a major difference by changing your lifestyle and improving your diet to reflect a need to lower your levels of uric acid.

Lifestyles changes and dietary shifts are key. People who want to avoid gout should avoid alcohol as well as food and beverages that are sweetened or sugary. They should also monitor or limit their red meat intake and make sure to get regular exercise. Some seafoods are also causes of gout, so it’s important to be aware of what foods contribute to or worsen cases of gout. Things like eating red meat and seafood, drinking sugary beverages and alcohol, and overall not watching your diet can increase your levels of uric acid, thus worsening the gout.

Other health and medical factors are also associated with gout, including obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. There are also medications that can increase your levels of uric acid, such as diuretics and high blod pressure medication. Blood thinners, chemotherapy, and other medications can also sometimes increase your uric acid levels, thereby making gout worse.

Age and sex also play a role when it comes to gout. According to Mayo Clinic, “Gout occurs more often in men, primarily because women tend to have lower uric acid levels. After menopause, however, women's uric acid levels approach those of men. Men are also more likely to develop gout earlier — usually between the ages of 30 and 50 — whereas women generally develop signs and symptoms after menopause.”

Thus, men are more likely to experience gout, and gout tends to come about at later ages.

To prevent gout, it’s important for patients to take steps like drinking plenty of water, limiting their alcohol intake or avoiding it altogether, consuming low-fat dairy products, staying fit and non-obese, and limiting intake of meats. Dairy products can actually help protect against gout, so consuming them may be a good idea when it comes to dietary changes.

You may also want to consider adding more cherries to your diet. According to Arthritis.org, “Eating tart cherries – or drinking tart cherry juice -- may lower your risk of gout attacks. The red-purple pigments in the fruit – called anthocyanins – have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to provide protection.”

Current treatments and medication options

There’s no way around it: a gout diagnosis will lead to some major lifestyle changes. While some of the condition is out of your hands and out of your control, some is not. People with gout should concentrate first on taking steps and making changes that will lead to lower levels of uric acid in their bodies and, thus, a lessened case of gout.

Treating gout focuses on reducing swelling, inflammation, redness, and pain--often through the use of anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs or colchicine. Sometimes the treatment route can also consist of splints, compression wearables, and even surgery if needed. It’s also important for the patient to take their diet and activity levels seriously. People with gout may need to lose weight and exercise, alter their diet, stop drinking alcohol and soda, or adjust their medications to help lower their uric acid and live a healthier lifestyle.

Sometimes, medication is needed to treat gout. Typical gout medications include colchicine, or Colcrys, which can reduce gout pain, and corticosteroid medications such as prednisone (Deltasone), which usually take 1-4 days to treat acute gout and reduce inflammation and pain.

There are also medications that block uric acid production, such as Allopurinol (Zyloprim) and Febuxostat (Uloric), which lower the blood’s uric acid levels and reduce the risk of gout. People also use NSAIDS like Indomethacin (Indocin) and ibuprofen to relieve the pain associated with gout.

Not sure which treatment will help your gout? Make sure to discuss your options with your doctor. A qualified medical professional will be able to advise you on the best treatment route and medication options for you.

Related medications and latest research

Above, we’ve included some of the top products and most common medications when it comes to gout. Whether you need NSAIDs for pain relief or uric acid blockers, we may be able to help. We carry Allopurinol (Zyloprim), Febuxostat (Uloric), Indomethacin (Indocin), ibuprofen, and more. To fill your prescription, you don’t even need to leave your hours! We’ll deliver your order right to your door--it couldn’t be simpler.

There is also a new weapon out there against gout: canakinumab (Ilaris), an injectable drug. However, it’s not yet approved. Rasburicase (Elitek) and pegloticase (Krystexxa) are additional emerging therapies that can help to lower the levels of uric acid in patients with gout.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “...recent advances in gout, including the introduction of novel therapeutics, the role of genetic screening, and the development of new gout classification and management guidelines.” How these potential advancements will play out is not yet known, but it would be wise to keep your eye on these emerging treatments so you can be at the cutting edge of healing.

Order now if you’re ready to get your prescriptions filled in a hassle-free and time-saving way.

Where to buy now

Wondering where you can buy gout medication? You’re in luck. We sell colchicine products right here on our site, which could work wonders for you. If your doctor recommends a medication for pain relief or for lowering your levels of uric acid, we may carry just the right thing for you.

Depending on your gout diagnosis, you may need NSAIDs, corticosteroids, colchicine, or inhibitors to decrease your body’s production of uric acid.

Whatever it is, there’s a good chance we carry it for you. Contact us today for assistance with placing your order.

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