Huge surge in Victorian disease as NHS warns Brits not to ignore early signs

A severe Victorian disease is rising so quickly in the UK that the NHS has issued a warning to Brits.

Health experts say there are four early warning signs of gout that must not be ignored as it can cause extreme joint pain.

According to NHS figures, cases of gout have shot up by 20% over the last three years, with around 250,000 people ending up in hospital because of it in the year of March 2021 to 2022, The Mirror reports.

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In total the disease which became common during the 19th century, is currently impacting approximately 1.5million Brits with 421,370 UK hospital patients in the same year, suffering from one of 13 Victorian diseases.

The rising Victorian illnesses also include tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera, and vitamin D deficiency – even if it wasn’t the primary reason for their admission.

The number was up by 25% from 338,216 hospital admissions in 2020/21, having dipped during the pandemic where previously it had been rising year-on-year.

It puts the number of in-patients diagnosed with these diseases at the highest level seen since at least 2017/18, when these figures begin.

An attack of gout usually lasts between five to seven days and then gets better, and it may not cause lasting damage to joints if you get treatment immediately, NHS guidance says.

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Ways to help prevent gout include getting to a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and having alcohol-free days.

The main symptoms to look out for include: sudden severe pain in your joint (usually the big toe, hands, wrist, elbow or knees); hot skin; swollen joints; and redness over the affected joint.

Dr Alastair Dickson, a GP and trustee of the UK Gout Society, said many in the medical profession still believe it's a condition caused by overconsumption, but warned there is still a lack of awareness of the illness.

"There’s a lack of awareness that it is inherently a genetic disease," he told the Mail.

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A report in the journal Lancet Regional Health – Europe in May discovered that only a minority of UK patients are given preventative medication within 12 months of diagnosis.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Mark Russell, NIHR research fellow at King’s College London, told Good Health: "Without preventative treatment, flare-ups tend to become more frequent over time and can develop into a chronic arthritis that never fully settles.

"Long-term treatment with urate-lowering medications such as allopurinol prevents attacks and joint damage in people with gout and improves quality of life."

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Causes of a gout flare up include:

  • Older age

  • Being male at birth

  • Obesity

  • Diet high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid in your body

  • Alcohol use

  • Sweetened beverages, sodas and high fructose corn syrup

  • Medications including diuretics, low dose aspirin, some antibiotics prescribed for tuberculosis, and cyclosporine


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