28 May 2014

Gout myths hampering treatment

6:34 am on 28 May 2014

The Maori Gout Action Group says a myth about gout needs to be well and truly debunked if there is to be any chance of getting on top of the disease.

The rate of gout in Maori is 2.5 times higher than that of Europeans, with Maori men the worst affected.

Group chairperson Dr Karen Lindsay says the myth is that gout is caused by overeating and drinking; which is wrong.

She said Maori and Pacific people have a higher genetic risk of the disease.

Dr Lindsay said it's an imminently treatable form of arthritis, which can damage joints the more times it happens. She stresses more awareness about the disease is needed.

Dr Lindsay said untreated, it can lead to stomach ulcers and kidney failure.

A health educator says the myths around gout are prevalent not only among people in the community but also in the medical profession.

Susan Reid from Workbase said 80 percent of gout cases are caused by too much uric acid in the body.

She said some doctors don't understand this and keep falling back on the myth that it's caused by too much food and drink.

Ms Reid said the biggest problem about gout being treated in primary care - is the failure of doctors to prescribe uric acid lowering medicine and to properly monitor it.