A key task for me in my work at Arthritis New Zealand is promoting awareness and services about gout amongst Pacific communities. Gout is the second most common form of arthritis in New Zealand and more prevalent here per head of population than anywhere else in the world. More than 160,000 people were diagnosed with gout in 2014 and 22,000 of these were Pacific people.
Fifteen DHBs have a higher prevalence of Pacific people with gout. The highest is Counties Manukau with more than 9,000 Pacific people with gout, followed by Auckland, Waitemata, and Capital and Coast.
We know that it’s due to genetic factors that Māori and Pacific people are particularly affected, with at least twice the rates of gout as other ethnic groups. This is especially so for men, but Māori and Pacific people are less likely than other groups to receive effective therapies.
Left untreated, gout can lead to long term joint damage and disability, so early identification and treatment is important. Equally important is helping to dispel the myth around gout – that it’s all about the food you eat or alcohol consumption. In fact, 80 percent of gout is because the body cannot get rid of uric acid properly, which leads to painful crystals forming in the joints.
So we do have our work cut out for us but I know that Arthritis New Zealand is determined to make a difference for people living with arthritis and in particular Māori and Pacific people with gout.
Click to download the new Gout brochure