About this time last year I had a severe attack of gout.
Don’t laugh. It’s no joke. The big toe joint of my left foot was red hot and swollen. It was very painful.
I was in bed for a week, on crutches for a week and had a limp for a month.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I’d joined a not-so-exclusive club.
One in 40 people, mainly blokes, suffer from gout.
That’s why the UK Gout Society recently launched a national Shout About Gout campaign.
In the past 10 years the prevalence of gout has risen by more than 64 per cent.
The most common form of inflammatory arthritis, it’s linked to other serious health conditions like obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
Forget the idea that it only affects well-off, old people who drink too much and eat rich foods.
It affects young and old alike and it can be hereditary.
At the UK Gout Society launch in the House of Commons I met a general and a lord who both had their attacks early on in life and had been on tablets for years.
I also met a young amateur footballer who thought he’d broken his toe in a tackle on the field.
He spoke of the terrible agony of his gout attacks. It was so severe he actually thought about cutting off his big toe.
Whatever the cause it calls for a change of lifestyle.
Now I keep off high purine foods like beef, liver and kidney.
I don’t drink alcohol. I eat plenty of leafy vegetables and go to the gym even more often. I take one Allopurinol tablet every day to slow down the amount of uric acid in your body.
It’s a build-up of this that forms into crystals in your joints and causes the acute pain.
For more information visit ukgoutsociety.org.