May 29, 2014
Tapu talk compounds gout sufferering
A Maori health researcher wants Maori men to start talking about pain.
Betty-Lou Iwikau says silence is leading to ignorance about the painful arthritic condition gout, which is caused by a build up of uric acid in the joints.
It can be treated with a combination of diet, drugs and exercised.
Dr Iwikau says Polynesian genetics means one in two Maori in the Counties Manukau Health area are likely to have or be at risk of gout.
But her research showed they were also less likely to understand the disease or to seek help from a health professional.
She says whakama or shame leaves people crippled mentally and physically.
"So this notion of tapu was a huge emphasis on these Maori men that I went through. So it silenced them, you dont talk about your feelings because its quite a crippling disease its very painful. So they were silenced by this. Stories that were passed through whakapapa to the point where our kaumatua dont talk about it just get on with the business and theres nothing that you can do about it and those are myths " she says.
Dr Betty Lou Iwikau says if left untreated gout can lead to amputations.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH BETTY LOU IWIKAU CLICK ON THE LINK
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