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The CTC’s Dr Emma Smith was senior author on a paper that found gout cases have risen up to 20% in Australia in the last 20 years, and that Australia has the second highest prevalence of gout in the world next to New Zealand.
The Arthritis & Rheumatology paper found there were approximately 41.2 million prevalent cases of gout in 2017 worldwide, with the rate of new diagnosed cases being 92 per 100,000 people, an increase of 5.5% from 1990.
Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness, and tenderness in joints. It is more common in males and older individuals, and is generally highest in developed regions and countries. Obesity and genetic risks are contributing factors.
"The increasing trend of gout burden is most likely to continue as the global aging population is on the rise," said Dr Emma Smith. "Attempts to lessen the disease onset and future burden of gout require better awareness, especially of risk factors, and early diagnosis and treatment."
Medication, prescribed by a physician, can be used to lower the levels of uric acid, which rise during gout flare, in attempt to defend the body against crystals forming in joints. A reduction in the amount of alcohol and red meat consumed can also help prevent acute gout flares.
Dr Emma Smith, PhD, is ANZCTR senior project officer at the CTC. She is also a research affiliate with the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research.
The paper was reported on by a suite of international media organisations, including: