Overindulging in unhealthy food and drink during the pandemic could be behind a recent increase in cases of gout, according to medical experts.
Some 234,000 people were admitted to hospital in 2021/22 as a result of suffering from the painful inflammatory arthritis, Wales Online reports.
And according to digital figures from the NHS, this increase in cases is linked to obesity.
Some one in four adults in the UK are badly overweight, and medical experts have warned that the UK is on track to become Europe's fattest nation within the next 10 years.
The UK's bad eating habits and 'Deliveroo culture' of having unhealthy food conveniently available during Covid has made the obesity problem worse, say experts.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said people today were eating and drinking Falstaff, Henry VIII and rich Victorians, who made gout infamous, "under the table".
What are the symptoms of gout?
Gout is one of the oldest diseases known to man, dating back to Egyptian times.
It's a type of inflammatory arthritis that typically starts in your big toe, but can also affect other joints such as elbows, feet, knees and wrists.
The skin around the joint can also swell up and feel very hot, and can appear red and shiny.
It can usually be treated with painkillers, but in some severe cases, injections or steroids could be used to combat attacks.
How to avoid flare-ups of gout
The NHS recommends a number of lifestyle changes to prevent gout attacks. These include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting to a healthy weight - but avoiding crash diets
- Have some alcohol-free days a week
- Exercise regularly
- Stop smoking
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