According to the Arthritis Foundation, ʺAn estimated 6.1 million Americans have experienced at least one gout attack. The disease most commonly affects men and can manifest anywhere from age 30 onward. Women get gout too, although they are at a slightly lower risk, and it usually appears after menopause.ʺ
Arthritis Today Magazine stated that, once called the “disease of kings,” gout has long been associated with portly men -- especially those who could afford to overindulge in rich foods and alcohol.
However, it has been discovered women during their menopause years are more susceptible to gout.
The average age of menopause is 51 years old and during this time our bodies are producing less estrogen.
According to Arthritis Today Magazine, “Estrogen may help the kidneys excrete uric acid, so after menopause, a woman’s uric acid level begins to increase. It usually takes several years for the uric acid level to reach the point where crystals can form. By about age 60, the number of cases of gout in women and men are about equal; after age 80, more women than men have gout.”
Gout often affects the big toe or fingers but can occur any other joints "including the feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists, elbows and sometimes soft tissue and tendons."
So, how do you know if you or your loved one has gout? The University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) website said the following are symptoms of acute gouty arthritis:
• Chills and mild fever, loss of appetite, and feelings of ill health
• Severe pain at and around the joint
• Pain occurs late at night or early in the morning and may wake you up
• Pain may feel like "crushing" or a dislocated bone
• Pain usually takes 8 - 12 hours to develop
• Physical activity and even the weight of bed sheets may be unbearable
• Swelling that may extend beyond the joint
• Red, shiny, tense skin over the affected area, which may peel after a few days
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.