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Airing Pain 91: Not an Old Man’s Disease

We talk to cam­paign­ers, MPs, patients and spe­cial­ists about the most com­mon form of inflam­ma­to­ry arthri­tis: gout

This pro­gramme was fund­ed by a grant from The Schuh Trust.

Gout is the most com­mon form of inflam­ma­to­ry arthri­tis and affects 1 in 40 peo­ple in the UK. So why do we still see it as some­thing that exists only in the pages of Vic­to­ri­an nov­els? In this episode of Air­ing Pain we go inside the Hous­es of Par­lia­ment and speak with MPs, clin­i­cians, patients and UK Gout Soci­ety mem­bers to find out why.

What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthri­tis caused by a build-up of uric acid crys­tals in the joints, most fre­quent­ly the feet. As with many con­di­tions, flare-ups can be brought on by a num­ber of fac­tors includ­ing lifestyle, stress and diet. Some peo­ple, how­ev­er, have a genet­ic pre­dis­po­si­tion. Paul Web­ber and Alan Hugh­es both suf­fer with gout, describ­ing the pain as being repeat­ed­ly being kicked in the shin and worse than a red-hot poker.

What’s the treatment?

Treat­ments for reduc­ing pain dur­ing attacks include icing the joint and tak­ing med­ica­tions, how­ev­er there are also long term treat­ments. There are lifestyle changes we can make, such as con­sum­ing less yeast-rich food and drink, stay­ing active and drink­ing plen­ty of water. Despite being rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive to treat, gout comes at a great cost to the econ­o­my and soci­ety, as the Chief Exec­u­tive of ARMA, Sue Brown, highlights.

Con­sul­tant Rheuma­tol­o­gist Dr Jonathon Rees iden­ti­fies a lack of aware­ness in pri­ma­ry care, with cas­es often going undi­ag­nosed. Paul also talks to Michael Snaith about his ear­ly gout and gen­der research at the UK’s first gen­der reas­sign­ment, and Lord Rams­both­am sums up per­fect­ly why gout real­ly is no laugh­ing matter.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Alco­hol, arthri­tis, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, chron­ic renal dis­ease, dia­betes, gen­der dif­fer­ences, gout, hyper­ten­sion, joint pain, mis­con­cep­tions, uric acid crys­tals and weight.


  • Jim Shan­non MP for Strangford
  • Dr George Nuki, pro­fes­sor of rheuma­tol­ogy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edinburgh
  • Paul Web­ber, per­son with gout
  • Alun Hugh­es, per­son with gout
  • Dr Tim Tait, Con­sul­tant Rheuma­tol­o­gist, Roy­al Hal­lamshire Hospital
  • Stu­art Reed, gout suf­fer­er and patient trustee of the UK Gout Society
  • Dr Jonathan Rees, Con­sul­tant Rheuma­tol­o­gist and Sports Med­i­cine, Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust
  • Dr Adri­an Dun­bar, GP with a spe­cial inter­est in mus­cu­loskele­tal med­i­cine and chron­ic pain
  • Sue Brown, Chief Exec­u­tive of Arthri­tis & Mus­cu­loskele­tal Alliance
  • Dr Michael Snaith, retired Con­sul­tant Rheuma­tol­o­gist and trustee of the UK Gout Society
  • Lord Rams­both­am, cross bench mem­ber of the House of Lords and per­son with gout
  • Lynsey Con­way, UK Gout Soci­ety Secretariat.

More infor­ma­tion: