Gout can be so bad that 83% of sufferers struggle to walk or even put on their shoes, according to a new survey.
The severe form of arthritis has forced 9% of sufferers to take time off work and 4% of sufferers under the age of 65 give up work altogether.
The figures, published by Arthritis Care in its Gout Nation 2014 report, also found that 10% of gout patients were diagnosing their condition online and 21% felt that they do not receive enough information from their GP about the long-term drug therapy treatments available to them.
“It is important to understand that gout can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex or risk factors”
With one in 40 people now suffering from gout, Arthritis Care is hoping for greater recognition of the illness. A total of 1,259 people with gout were questioned in the YouGov survey about their experiences with gout.
Gout is a type of arthritis where swelling and severe pain develops in joints affecting a person’s mobility. The condition causes episodes of inflammation and pain, and in some cases irreversible joint damage and disability.
Michael Doherty, Professor of Rheumatology at University of Nottingham, said: “It is important to understand that gout can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex or risk factors and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems such as permanent joint damage, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.
“Gout is attributed to an interaction between a number of factors including genetics, the environment and personal circumstances, and it is important that people are aware of the factors which increase the risk of developing the condition,” he said.
“These include having a close family member with gout, certain medications, a diet rich in protein or purines, drinking excessive beer and spirits and being overweight,” he added.
Judi Rhys, chief executive of Arthritis Care, said: “The number of people living with gout and being diagnosed every year is continuing to increase, yet we as a nation are still not taking this condition seriously.
“We need new quality standards on the treatment of gout and we are calling on the National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence to take this forward,” she added.