Gout Medicine History
Gout exemplifies the past and present coming together since some of what was known about gout centuries ago still applies today, yet we have come far in understanding its cause and the best treatments for it. Knowledge of some diseases is centuries old, while other diseases are modern day concerns.
Two centuries ago gout was associated with "high living and superior social status" and "longevity". Prominent men including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were gout sufferers. Through misconstrued logic, gout was accordingly related to class distinction. The association of gout with longevity arose from the fact that in 18th century England the average life expectancy was around 30 years old. Gout, which is 10 times more prevalent over the age of 45, appeared related to long life.
Gout In 1861
An antiquated medical reference published in 1861, "Gunn's New Domestic Physician: Home Book Of Health", refers to gout as "a peculiar disease, somewhat resembling rheumatism, affecting the joints, most generally those of the foot or toes".
The pain of gout is described as "very painful at times, the pain differing from that of any other disease, being more excruciating and intolerable".
Excess uric acid in the blood is the recognized cause of gout in Gunn's book. The excess uric acid is attributed to "high living, the free use of acid and fermented liquors, and an idle or sedentary habit of living".
Advances In Gout Medicine
Much has been learned throughout the years about gout medicine. Modern day researchers have focused on what leads to gout and have been able to create medications to treat the disease. Newer and better drugs are currently being developed as researchers continue to target the pain of gout.
Advancements in modern medicine are even more evident from the recommended treatment for gout in Gunn's book. For temporary relief of a "fit of gout", immersion of the affected body part in cold water for several minutes at a time, repeated frequently during the day, is the best solution offered. The cold water immersion and "proper regard to diet" are depicted as sufficient treatment for the majority of cases of gout. In cases where the recommended treatment proves to be insufficient, a recipe for a poultice is described: Take a handful of Jimson leaves, bruise and simmer awhile in weak ley, thicken into a poultice with either wheat bran or powdered Elm bark. Apply warm and renew before dry.
Gout is one of the most painful types of arthritis. Gout attacks can be controlled or prevented by lifestyle changes and the use of certain medications. Better understanding will enhance your ability to manage the condition. Learn more about gout with our free e-course newsletter.
Sources: Daily Telegraph London, 10/4/98; Gunn's New Domestic Physician: Home Book Of Health, published 1861