An Old Disease Rises Again in America
Gout afflicts more Americans than ever
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2012 2:45 PM CDT
James Gillray's famous picture depicting gout, from 1799.   (The Gout by James Gillray. Published May 14th, 1799.)

(Newser) – It's the condition that tormented Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, King Henry VIII, and Benjamin Franklin, and today increasingly afflicts regular Americans: gout. The painful inflammatory condition, caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, may seem retro, but thanks to fructose-sweetened soft drinks, purine-rich foods, and general obesity, it has doubled in frequency over the past few decades in the US, reports the Atlantic.

Purine-rich foods—especially red meat, organ meats, and some fish, as well as some vegetables (and, very sadly, beer)—appear to be chiefly to blame, quintupling the risk of a gout flare-up, reports the UPI. If it makes you feel better, humans are not the only ones afflicted with gout: It also besets reptiles, birds, and great apes. Pharmaceutical companies have new drugs coming to fight gout, but in the meantime, drink plenty of water (and coffee, at least for men over 40) and avoid those risky foods.

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