Two warning signs of Victorian disease that thousands of people now have in UK

Two warning signs of Victorian disease that thousands of people now have in UK

People are being urged to look out for two warning signs of a disease that dates back to Victorian times but thousands of people now have.

Gout, a type of arthritis, is caused by a chemical called uric acid forming small crystals, known as tophi, in and around the joints. If these tophi get into a joint, they may trigger inflammation, causing swelling, extreme pain and tenderness.

The disease is commonly associated with Victorian Britain but there was a resurgence of the illness during the pandemic. The NHS estimates approximately 250,000 people were admitted to hospital with gout over the course of 2021-22.

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More recent figures suggest between 1-2% of the British population currently has gout, reports the Liverpool Echo. The two main symptoms are:

  • sudden severe pain in a joint – usually your big toe, but it can be in other joints in your feet, ankles, hands, wrists, elbows or knees
  • hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint – redness may be harder to see on black or brown skin.

Tophi can develop anywhere in the body but usually form on the toes, heels, knees, fingers, ears, forearms, or elbows. Successful treatment will prevent the tophi from getting any bigger, and long term treatment often gradually shrinks them. If you have very large or painful tophi, they may have to be surgically removed.

If gout isn’t treated, attacks may become more frequent and prolonged, and your likelihood of developing permanent joint damage will increase. In the most serious cases, surgery may be required to repair or replace a damaged joint.

While gout itself is not fatal, it can lead to life-changing complications if not treated. Those with gout may also be at a higher risk of premature death, according to a study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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