New insight into gout, 'disease of kings'
Gout has long been referred to as the "disease of kings" due to its prevalence among European royals. The condition, caused by the buildup of uric acid in a joint – often the big toe – that leads to pain and inflammation, actually affects many more than just royalty. Doctors estimate that the condition occurs in nearly 2 percent of the world's population.
New genetic insights may provide some answers to what causes the condition and its history. Scientists think that obesity is a major factor in gout, where royalty of the past may have been unaccustomed to significant physical labor; today, rising obesity rates may be to blame.
Researchers from the University at Edinburgh who conducted the study have identified 18 new genetic markers that may provide some answers for those who suffer from this painful condition. Prevention, management and treatment techniques may become the product of this research, the study team hopes.