A woman with gout

Why is Gout Called 'The Disease of Kings'?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Often beginning in the big toe in the middle of the night, high levels of uric acid can create sharp urate crystals in the joints or nearby tissue that cause severe pain. But what does that have to do with royalty?

Looking to the risk factors of gout shows the impact diet can have on this disorder. Uric acid forms in the body when breaking down purines, a substance found in seafood, steak, and organ meats. Excessive amounts of sugary foods and consuming large amounts of alcohol (particularly beer) also increases the chances of developing gout—or makes symptoms more severe or more frequent. Once upon a time, these rich foods were only available to the upper classes—making this condition a "disease of kings." 

Last Updated: April 18, 2018

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