I didn’t really know much about gout but after reading up on it and speaking with some of our Arthritis Educators, it was great to learn that gout can be treated and that there are many ways to manage the pain.

I have family members who suffer from gout and it breaks my heart to see them go through the pain and agony associated with it, which for some of them can last for days.

Many Pacific people associate gout with old people but that’s not the case. I recently attended a gout clinic with an Arthritis Educator where the first appointment was a young Polynesian couple. The young man explained he was first diagnosed with gout at the age of 17. This reminded me of a close friend who told me he was diagnosed at 18 and his brother was 13 and attending college when he was diagnosed. So much for being an old person’s illness – you can get it at a very young age.

These are experiences within my own community, so I can imagine how huge this issue is on a national scale.

Genetics plays a large role in developing gout. Maori and Pacific men are more likely to get gout especially if there is a history of a family member having gout.

All is not doom and gloom, however. You can prevent gout attacks and manage your pain by making sure you take your medicines every day, watching what you eat and drink, and participating in regular, suitable exercises. Support is also a click away by visiting our website or calling our helpline on 0800 663 463.

Neemia Tialata, a local lad from my home town of Wainuiomata, is an ambassador for Arthritis New Zealand. He is helping spread the news to encourage Maori and Pacific people to get checked out by a GP if you think you’re showing symptom of arthritis or gout.

I am inspired as the Pacific Community Development Coordinator to raise awareness and ensure that people living with arthritis and gout have access to the support services they need to help them live well.

Cheers, Daniel Umaga