July 16, 2014
Health risk in untreated gout
New Zealand has been tagged gout capital of the world, with the high rates among Maori and Pacific people a factor.
Growing research points to genetic factors rather than lifestyle factors as the cause of the build-up of uric acid in the blood which leads to the debilitating form of arthritis.
University of Otago Associate Professor Tony Merriman says Maori with a specific variant within a gene called SLC2A9 are more than five times more likely to get gout.
In the latest edition of Pacific Peaoples' Health, he says early diagnosis and treatment are important as untreated gout can cause major and permanent joint damage.
Gout can be effectively treated with medicine, and the risk of attacks can be reduced by bringing uric acid levels down by keeping to a healthy weight, eating three meals each day, choosing small servings of meat and seafood, eating low-fat dairy foods daily and drinking lots of water, and less alcohol.
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