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21st Sep 2022

Hospitals sees surge in patients with Victorian disease as NHS warns of signs to look out for

Tobi Akingbade

Here we go again!

The NHS has warned of a sudden rise in admissions for a severe Victorian disease – and there are four crucial warning signs health experts are urging people to not ignore.

Around 1.5million Brits are affected by gout, which is a type of arthritis that causes extreme joint pain.

It has been warned by the NHS that cases of the historic disease have been rising by 20 percent in the last three years, with 250,000 admitted to hospital with gout between 2021 and 2022.

Not great news to be fair.

It doesn’t get any better as figures from the NHS revealed that patients in England were diagnosed with one of 13 Victorian diseases when admitted to hospital on 421,370 occasions in the year to March 2022, the Mirror reports.

They include gout, tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera, and a vitamin D deficiency.

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

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The main symptoms of gout includes sudden severe pain in a joint – usually your big toe, but it can be in other joints in your feet, hands, wrists, elbows or knees – and hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint.

However, making lifestyle changes can reduce flare-ups of gout. These include maintaining a healthy weight – but avoiding ‘crash diets’; eating a healthy, balanced diet; having alcohol-free days; avoiding dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids and exercising regularly.

[caption id="attachment_296541" align="alignnone" width="700"] NHS have urged people to watch out (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

The NHS also recommends discussing vitamin C supplements with your GP.

An attack of gout usually lasts between five and seven days, but it can recur – especially if it’s not treated at the time. So keep an eye out for symptoms!

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.

He told the Mail: “There’s a lack of awareness that it is inherently a genetic disease.”

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.

Things to do if get gout, according to the NHS:

  • take any medicine you’ve been prescribed as soon as possible – it should start to work within 2 days

  • rest and raise the limb

  • keep the joint cool – apply an ice pack, or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, for up to 20 minutes at a time

  • drink lots of water (unless a GP tells you not to)

  • try to keep bedclothes off the affected joint at night

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