JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A cartoon by James Gillray (1799) illustrating the pain and inflammation caused by gout. Gout is a disease in which a defect in uric acid metabolism causes an excess of the acid & its salts (sodium urate) to accumulate in the bloodstream and the joints. These collect in the joint capsules causing acute inflammation, with swelling, redness & pain. When it affects the foot it is known as "podagra". Gout has traditionally been associated with "excessive living", in particular overeating & overdrinking, and it is more common amongst men. Today, treatment for acute & chronic forms involves the use of drugs & a warning against rich food & alcohol.
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