Gout Hurts!

Gout is one of the most painful con­di­tions known to med­ical sci­ence. As you can see in this 1799 car­toon by James Gill­ray, a gout suf­fer­er, gout tends to strike the big toe. Back then, gout was a dis­ease of the rich, who could afford to eat lots of meat and drink lots of booze.

Another cartoon by gout sufferer James Gillray.
Anoth­er car­toon by gout suf­fer­er James Gill­ray.

Gout results from the buildup of crys­tals of uric acid in the joints. Some­times, this buildup can be very severe. If you want to see how bad it can get, click here.

The good news is that gout can be pre­vent­ed and treat­ed by prop­er diet. Sci­en­tists have known for cen­turies that gout results from eat­ing too much meat. Gout is com­mon in the Unit­ed States but is vir­tu­al­ly unknown in soci­eties where peo­ple eat a starchy, plant-based diet. The best way to pre­vent and con­trol gout is to cor­rect the diet. One word of cau­tion: rapid weight loss, even from a switch to a healthy diet, can trig­ger an attack of gout, because of the sud­den release of uric acid result­ing from the loss of body fat.

In an upcom­ing post, I’ll explain why peo­ple get gout, why goril­las could but don’t get gout, and why real car­ni­vores like dogs and cats and real omni­vores like rats can’t get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *