How the "diseases of affluence" manifest themselves, painfully, in our body's joints.
It's more than obesity that's taking a toll on our health. Obesity can alter our body's insulin response, creating a metabolic syndrome that basically spurs us to keep ordering more burgers and fries. In other words, getting fatter stimulates our appetites even more.
Now, you can add gout—a painful build-up of uric acid in the joints, often affecting hands and feet—to the list of more commonly known "diseases of affluence," like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. As Jane Brody reports in today's The New York Times:
Long regarded as a “disease of kings” for its association with a diet rich in meats and alcohol, gout in modern times has become a decidedly more plebeian disorder. More than six million adults in the United States have had it, and the numbers are rising steadily as the population ages, becomes heavier and is exposed to foods and other substances that can precipitate the disorder in susceptible people.\n
Perhaps it's another warming sign that our diet is too rich. What's interesting is the best treatment is reducing meat, alcohol, and soda consumption. One only needs to look at these images to get a sense why living leaner in the long run might be a wise choice.
Image via "The Surgical Treatment of Tophaceus Gout," 1943.