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More youngsters diagnosed with gout due to sugary drinks

2013/06/29 20:26:53

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) A doctor said Saturday a growing number of youngsters in Taiwan are being diagnosed with gout, likely because of their high consumption of sugar-filled beverages.

Chen Shih-yang, director of Country Hospital's gout treatment center, told a medical conference that the age at which people are contracting gout in Taiwan has fallen markedly over the past 30 years.

Based on 40,000 data entries on gout patients he has accumulated since 1981, Chen said gout occurred mainly among men in their 50s and 60s in the 1980s but grew increasingly prevalent among men in their 30s in the 1990s and among men in their 20s in recent years.

Today, Chen said, 20-somethings account for 20 percent of Taiwan's gout population, an unheard of percentage two decades ago.

He attributed the growing number of young people with gout to their frequent consumption of sugary drinks, which contain high levels of purine that result in excess uric acid in the blood -- the main cause of the disease.

He warned the public to seek medical help when gout strikes them the first time, noting it is often accompanied by cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndromes, strokes, high-blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol.

(By Lung Rei-yun and Ann Chen)