LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It is one of the most painful medical conditions anyone can have. Although it used to be thought of as a disease that affects those later in life, things are changing at a rapid pace — gout is now hitting younger generations.

Bob Fratto, 40, is walking now, but that was not always the case.

It started out as a small pain in his big toe. What he though was a sprain, soon became much more.

“The whole toe area was red and inflamed and extremely sensitive to the touch. You couldn’t even pull a sheet over it when you’re in bed and not have very extreme pain,” said Fratto.

Manuel Hernandez, 31, of Whittier thought he twisted his knee until the pain was so unbearable he could not stand on his own.

“I couldn’t even get in the car and get out… It’s painful, you can’t even imagine,” Hernandez said.

Both men were shocked to be diagnosed with an excruciatingly painful kind of arthritis called gout.

Rheumatologist Doctor Robert Harris, the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Arthritis Foundation’s Pacific Region, says that he used to see this is people over 60. That is not the case anymore.

“I’m actually seeing the younger patients in their 30s, 40s, and early 50s with acute attacks of gout,” Dr. Harris said.

More than 2 million men and women are affected by gout. What causes it? Something called uric acid that builds up in the joints and forms crystals, which cause extreme pain and swelling.

It typically affects the large joint of the big toe, but can also affect other areas, including ankles, knees and even hands.

“The pain is so severe that even the weight of a common housefly landing on the big toe during the course of an attack of gout is intolerable,” Dr. Harris said.

So gout is no longer an older-person’s condition or a man’s disease, more women are also being affected by it.

What is causing this rise in younger people with gout? Dr. Harris says the main factors that trigger gout are obesity, high intakes of alcohol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Medication is a way to manage gout. Changing your diet will also make a difference, especially avoiding red meat and alcohol, something that Fratto now does.

Hernandez has lost 40 pounds since his diagnosis, knowing that the healthier he is, the lower his chances of having a flare up are.

Dr. Harris says gout can be genetic but in younger people the causes are much more related to diet and lifestyle.

Related Links:

Dr. Robert Harris
13203 Hadley Street
Suite 106
Whittier, CA 90601
(562) 945-7626

Comments (6)
  1. Mehilangelino says:

    In other words what causing it is their cultural food intake. Their dishes are deadly. I’ve stopped eating it and eating healthy, sodium is down, lost weight, feel great.

    1. usa1917 says:

      That’s bull. The article lists items that aggravate gout. The main culprits are organ meats that are rich in purine, broths, dried beans and peas, mushrooms, spinach,asparagus and cauliflower, anchovies and caviar.

      Not the typical Hispanic diet.

  2. Gout sucks! says:

    I had never heard of gout, until I was diagnosed with it at 42. My diet is very good/ I am phisicaly fit as a mid 40 year old. No history of gout in the family, and I do not have a high intake of alcohol(???).

    This is a disease I would not wish on anyone!

    1. Prachi says:

      thnaks for the info … thnaks for the info on Gout. I’m suffering from it right now. It had been over a year since I’ve suffered with Gout. Whenever I run out of my medication for Gout and don’t get it within a few days, here comes Gout! Thanks

  3. Joshy says:

    Broke my big toe … Broke my big toe when I was 30..had my first acttak at 40..about 10lbs overweight and exersize regularly.I do not know if this is a cure but it got rid of my acttak in 2 days..(could barely walk during the episode).Half a tsp of baking soda in 6oz water 4x per day and 2 tbs of organic apple cider vinergar in 6oz of water 3x per day…also drink at least a gallon of water each day…2 days back on my feet and 80% better 4 days 90% 6 days 100%.

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