Digital statistics from the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) attested to this increase, with gout cases surging by 20 percent in the last three years. According to the NHS, 234,000 gout patients were admitted to hospitals from 2021 to 2022. There were only about 204,000 gout patients sent to the hospital from 2020 to 2021.
A similar upward trend was also observed in the obesity rate during the same period, with one in every four adults now categorized as obese. Given this figure, the U.K. is now on track to become one of the most overweight countries in the world by 2033.
Lockdowns to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) have been blamed for the U.K.'s rising gout hospitalizations and increase in obesity.
According to health, fitness and nutrition experts, Britons have spent more time sitting down during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Some people who were trying to cope with pandemic-related depression brought about by the uncertainty during the last couple of years might have resorted to binge-eating unhealthy foods.
Once known as the "disease of kings," gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain. This is caused by too much uric acid in the body, which leads to the formation of sodium urate crystals in and around the joints. Gout usually occurs in the big toe – but can also develop in other joints in the feet, hands, wrists, elbows and knees.
According to the NHS, gout runs in families and is common in older men. Those who are overweight, drink alcohol and have conditions such as high cholesterol or diabetes have a higher chance of developing the condition. (Related: Natural healing: 10 Home remedies that can relieve gout.)
To prevent gout from returning, NHS recommends maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet to prevent gout from coming back.
Binge eating during the COVID-19 pandemic served as a coping mechanism for some people, according to a dietitian.
"With the pandemic posing several challenges for those who are struggling, lonely, anxious or bored, leaning on food to 'self-soothe' can become the norm," explained Alexia Dempsey, eating disorder dietician for mental health care provider Priory Group. She added that certain foods stimulate the brain's secretion of opiate-like, "feel-good" chemicals such as serotonin which, in turn, drives cravings.
"People often report carbohydrate-based binges, which can be linked to increased serotonin, a chemical found to alleviate low mood and anxiety. It, therefore, makes sense that in times of stress, such as the unprecedented and uncertain times we are currently experiencing, we will also see a widespread increase in people craving these 'feel good' foods – which in turn can lead to negative feelings of guilt as well as lower self-esteem, and poorer health and wellbeing," she explained.
Dempsey suggested several practical tips to address binge-eating:
Pandemic.news has more stories about the negative effects of lockdowns, such as higher rates of gout and obesity.
Watch this video that talks about how to relieve gout naturally with home remedies.
This video is from the Truth or Consequences channel on Brighteon.com.