It was once known as the ‘disease of kings’ – but hospitalizations for gout have skyrocketed due to binge eating and less exercise during the lockdowns, figures suggest.
Cases are up 20 percent in three years, with 234,000 patients hospitalized with gout in 2021/22, statistics from NHS Digital show.
During the same period, there is also a significant increase in obesity.
Experts said many spent more time sitting during the Covid lockdowns and may have eaten more snacks and junk food while working from home.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘Forget Falstaff, Henry VIII and the wealthy Victorians who made gout infamous.
“The Elizabethans of today eat and drink them all under the table.”
Hospital admissions for gout have soared due to binge eating and less exercise during the lockdowns
Gout is one of the oldest known diseases of mankind and dates back to the time of the Egyptians.
Symptoms include sudden and severe joint pain, usually in your big toe, but can also be found in other joints in your feet, hands, wrists, elbow, or knees.
Some people may also experience warm, swollen, red skin over the affected joint.
It is caused by too much uric acid in the body, which can lead to deposits of sodium urate crystals in and around the joints, causing pain and discomfort.
It can cause excruciating pain but is usually treatable with medications such as ibuprofen or steroids if the pain and swelling do not improve.
But Mr Fry warned patients were not getting enough help from the NHS.
“Gout sufferers are miles away from the treatment they need and their terrible care is not much better than that in the days of the Middle Ages,” he said.
The NHS recommends getting to a healthy weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet to prevent gout coming back.