Health professionals have warned that over a million Brits could be suffering from a Victorian-era disease.
The condition, known as gout, is a type of arthritis triggered by uric acid, a normal component of urine, forming small crystals in and around the joints.
These crystals are known as tophi, and sometimes they make their way into the joints, reports the Mirror.
If they do, you can expect to suffer irritation, extreme pain, swelling and tenderness as the tophi cause a major inflammation.
The painful disease has made an unwelcome comeback after its glory days in the 1800s.
Doctors link its return especially to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying close to a quarter of a million Brits went to hospital for official treatment between 2021 and 2022.
Fresh figures suggest between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of the British population currently suffers from gout or shows at least one symptom of it.
Brits are warned to be wary of the symptoms, the most important of which is a “sudden severe pain in a joint”, according to the NHS. This will most likely be in your big toe, but can be in other joints in your feet, ankles, wrists, elbows or knees.
A patch of hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint will confirm things. If you experience either of these symptoms, see a GP. However, the NHS advises it is not an emergency – only call 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment if you also have one of the following symptoms: increasing pain, high temperature, you feel sick and cannot eat.
Successful treatment will prevent the tophi getting any bigger and long term treatment will hopefully shrink them. Larger and more painful tophi may have to be surgically removed.
Left untreated, the gout attacks will become more intense and frequent, risking permanent joint damage and possible surgery to repair or replace a damaged joint.
While gout is not a fatal illness, it can cause complications later down the line, such as increasing the risk of premature death, according to a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
The best way to fight it is to prevent it though, if possible – according to the NHS, factors that can increase your risk of gout include obesity, high levels of fat and cholesterol in your blood and kidney disease, among others.
Diet is also a direct factor: regularly eating foods that contain a high level of purines will increase the amount of uric acid in your blood, raising the risk of gout. Foods containing high levels of purines include red meat, seafood and offal (the internal organs of a butchered animal).
Alcohol and sugary drinks also raise your risk of gout.