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NHS experiences surge in patients with Victorian disease and warns of signs to look out for

Lucy Devine

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NHS experiences surge in patients with Victorian disease and warns of signs to look out for

The NHS has experienced a rise in cases of a disease common in the Victorian era.

Gout - the disease in question - is a type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe joint pain, and affects around 1.5 million Brits.

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.

The NHS has warned that cases have been rising by 20 per cent in the last three years. Credit: Mark Thomas/Alamy Stock Photo
The NHS has warned that cases have been rising by 20 per cent in the last three years. Credit: Mark Thomas/Alamy Stock Photo
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Meanwhile, figures obtained by the Mirror have revealed that 229,888 cases of gout were diagnosed in the year up to March 2022 - a figure which is up 23 percent from the year before.

It comes as the UK has seen a rise in a number of illnesses commonly seen during the Victorian era, with the NHS revealing that patients in England were diagnosed with one of 13 'Victorian' illnesses after being admitted to hospital on 421,370 occasions last year, between March 2021 and March 2022.

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

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe joint pain. Credit: Dmitrii Melnikov/Alamy Stock Photo
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe joint pain. Credit: Dmitrii Melnikov/Alamy Stock Photo
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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.

An attack of gout usually lasts between five and seven days, but it can recur - especially if it's not treated at the time.

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.

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

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According to experts, treatment is essential to avoiding or reducing future flare-ups of the disease.

The NHS also recommends discussing vitamin C supplements with your GP. Credit: Simon Dack/Alamy Stock Photo
The NHS also recommends discussing vitamin C supplements with your GP. Credit: Simon Dack/Alamy Stock Photo

A report in the journal Lancet Regional Health - Europe earlier this year found that a small number of patients in the UK are given preventative treatment within a year of gout diagnosis.

Report author, 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.

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"Long-term treatment with urate-lowering medications such as allopurinol prevents attacks and joint damage in people with gout and improves quality of life."

You can find more information on the illness over on the NHS website.

Featured Image Credit: Science Photo Library/Alamy Lankowsky/Alamy

Topics: UK News, Health

Lucy Devine
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