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7 Myths About Gout

Get the facts on gout symptoms, causes and treatments

En español | Gout isn't just for paunchy Pickwickians who overindulge in Stilton cheese and a tawny port. More than 8 million Americans have this painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis, and that number is rising. Indeed, gout is now the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men over age 40.

The notion that gout is no longer prevalent is just one of the many misconceptions swirling around this age-old malady. Below, experts replace several other myths with facts.

Large man, Gout Myths and Facts

People of all sizes and incomes get gout. — Photo by Getty Images

1. Myth: Only wealthy and obese people get gout.

Truth: People of all sizes get gout — although extra pounds increase the risk, says John Reveille, M.D., director of rheumatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Gout is also more common in people who have other, often weight-related health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure or cholesterol. And while income has nothing to do with the condition, genes do play a part: If your parents had gout, you're more likely to have it as well.

Next: Is it true that women aren't afflicted by gout? »

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