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Lack Of Knowledge About Gout - A Common Form Of Painful Arthritis

May 21, 2007

Even though more than two million Americans suffer from it, 40 percent of the nation's population does not realize gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis.

"We would like to increase the level of gout awareness and, ultimately, help patients improve the long-term management of their condition for a better quality of life," explained Dr. Edwards, a specialist in rheumatology and professor of medicine at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

"More than half the people surveyed (56%), think that eating rich foods and drinking lots of beer causes of gout," he continued. "While diet can trigger a gout attack, hyperuricemia is the basic underlying disorder that leads to gout. The higher a person's uric acid level, the greater the risk for developing gout."

Hyperuricemia (elevated levels of uric acid in the blood) occurs when too much uric acid is produced in the body or when the kidneys are unable to eliminate an adequate amount of uric acid. Gout can be managed by lowering one's uric acid to a low level.

"Many people don't realize that gout is a form of arthritis, but for men over 40 years old, it is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis," said Dr. Patience White, Chief Public Health Officer for the Arthritis Foundation.

"Arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15," added Dr. White. "With May being National Arthritis Month we hope to promote education and a further understanding of the condition among the more than 46 million people in the United States who suffer from the many forms of arthritis, including gout patients."

The most common inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40, gout is characterized by sudden and severe episodes of pain, tenderness, redness, stiffness and swelling of joints. Gout is most often felt in the large joint of the big toe, but it can affect other joints such as the instep, ankle, heel, knee, wrist, finger and elbow. Today, more than two million Americans suffer the pain and inconvenience of gout, but the good news is that gout can be managed and controlled with medication and through adjustments to diet and lifestyle.

Formed in September 2005, the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society has a comprehensive educational brochure, as well as a user-friendly Web site for patients, caregivers, family members and health care providers.

The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society commissioned the Opinion Research Corporation to administer the survey. A total of 1,024 interviews were conducted by phone among a random, nationwide sample of American adults age 18 and older, May 3-6, 2007. The percentage of error is plus or minus three percent for the entire sample of 1,024.

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