Gout cases rise after ‘Deliveroo Lifestyle’ during lockdown

Gout cases rise after 'Deliveroo Lifestyle' during lockdown

It has long been painted as the disease of gluttonous kings.

But new figures suggest that overeating since the pandemic has fueled the rise in gout, with a sharp rise in hospital admissions linked to the condition.

Statistics show that the number of cases has increased by 20 per cent in just three years, with 234,000 people admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of gout in 2021/22.

NHS Digital figures follow a significant rise in obesity over the same period, with more than one in four adults classified as obese.

Experts warn that much of the population became more sedentary during the repeated lockdowns, with a greater reliance on snacks and junk food while working from home.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said the figures were an indictment of successive governments presiding over an increasingly fatter nation.

He said: “Forget Falstaff, Henry VIII and the rich Victorians who made the drop infamous. Today’s Elizabethans eat and drink them all under the table.”

Mr Fry also said many gout sufferers were getting little help from the NHS for a condition that can cause excruciating pain.

Dependence on home meals

“People with gout are miles away from getting the treatment they need and their horrible care is little better than it was in the days of the Dark Ages,” he said.

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain.

It often starts in the big toe, but it can also affect other joints in the feet, hands, wrists, elbows or knees, causing red, hot, inflamed skin.

It is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind, with a history dating back to 2,500 BC when it was first identified by the Egyptians.

But experts said modern lifestyles, and in particular a reliance on midday meals, were causing a resurgence of the disease, which results from excess uric acid in the body.

Estimates suggest that between one and two people in 100 will develop gout, with risks increasing in middle age. Men are more likely to suffer than women, although the likelihood increases in women after menopause.

Normally, the kidneys work to flush out uric acid. When they can’t, increased levels eventually lead to the formation of sodium urate crystal deposits in and around the joints.

It is these needle-shaped crystals that rub against the joints causing pain, swelling and often severe discomfort.

Typically, gout sufferers will notice stiffness and limited movement in the big toe as the first red flag of the condition.

Treatment includes anti-inflammatory drugs, with lifestyle changes such as weight loss also recommended.

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