BOSTON (CBS) – Gout, a painful condition that causes severe pain in the joints, is becoming more prevalent.
Dan Kozlowski will never forget the pain caused by his first incident of gout. “The left toe was swollen, red and hot to the touch. This was the kind of pain like something was stabbing your toe. It was constant,” he explained.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood. When this happens the uric acid can form hard crystals that deposit in the joints. This then causes swelling and pain.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports
The number of gout cases is soaring. In fact, they’ve doubled over the past 20 years and now affect 8 million people.
“We’re seeing more gout than we used to as people are getting more obese,” explained Dr. Joseph Skender, a rheumatologist.
Many of the same high calorie-high fat foods that cause weight problems can be a recipe for pain. Foods high in salt, as well as alcohol, can also be triggers.
“All the things on the list that can cause gout, I enjoy,” admits Dan.
The good news is some simple steps can decrease your risk of developing gout, according to dietitian David Schwartz.
“Preliminary research is showing that increasing your intake of low fat dairy foods like cottage cheese, skim milk and yogurt can reduce the risk of developing gout,” explained Schwartz. “It is also important to increase your intake of water.”
Dan has changed his lifestyle and hopes his gout is gone for good. “When something like that happens, it makes you re-examine what you’re doing, and what you’re taking into your body.”
Gout is more common among men, than women.