Gout and the Famous People who Suffer from it

If you are a gout sufferer, you are not alone. There are plenty of famous people from the past and also present who suffer the same way you do.

Historically gout was thought to be a rich man’s disease, and that those who suffered from it were mostly prominent and wealthy men who ate rich foods and abused alcohol. But we know from the almost 2500 year history of gout that it is in fact, a painful, chronic form of arthritis that affects about 1 to 2% of the Western population at some point in their lives.

Today, gout sufferers come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life.  The truth is that this type of arthritis is on the rise with 8 million Americans suffering from gout – rates having doubled in the past 50 years.

Gout is characterized by excess uric acid in the blood, which leads to extreme pain, redness, and swelling in the joints. For those with chronic gout, permanent joint damage can occur. At the same time, using the right medications and making healthy life changes can alleviate symptoms of the disease.

So let’s take a look at some of the famous people who have gout.

Sir Alec Guinness. The actor played the infamous “Obi-Wan Kenobi” in the Star Wars films and was knighted after his Oscar-winning role in The Bridge on the River Kwai. The Jedi Master didn’t have such super strength in real life, as he battled gout often.

Sir Laurence Olivier, one of the best actors of the 20th century was diagnosed with gout in 1965 at the age of 58 while filming a movie. He suffered additional gout attacks after the initial episode.

Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian opera singer won many accolades for his unique and powerful voice, also had his share of gout issues.

Dick Cheney. The former Vice President of the United States has dealt with a slew of medical issues, including a mishap with gout back in 2006.

Kim Jong-Un. The North Korean dictator apparently has a penchant for Swiss Emmental cheese and red wine. It has been alleged that his aggressive nature could be the result of steroids – a medication often given to gout sufferers.

Jim Belushi is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, singer and musician. He is the younger brother of comic actor John Belushi and father of actor Robert Belushi. He is very outspoken about Gout.

Famous People in History with Gout

These are not the only famous people who have had gout, when we look at both today and throughout history the list grows, and grows.

  • Ludwig Van Beethoven, musician
  • Charles Dickens, English author and social critic
  • Benjamin Franklin, USA Founding Father
  • John Hancock, American Revolution leader
  • William Pitt, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain
  • Sir Isaac Newton, English mathematician and physicist
  • Nostradamus, French apothecary
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, architect and engineer
  • Samuel Johnson (1709 to 1784) British author and poet, suffered from what he and his doctors labelled as gout, beginning in 1775, when he was 65.
  • Queen Victoria. The British Monarch had nine children and lived a very full life before her passing at 82 years of age. Her last few years she suffered from a few medical issues, one of them being gout.
  • Alexander the Great, conqueror
  • John Calvin, religious leader
  • Charlemagne , Holy Roman Emperor
  • Pope Clement XII
  • Christopher Columbus, explorer
  • Karl Marx, economist/philosopher
  • Michelangelo, sculptor
King Henry VII
King Henry VIII of England suffered with Gout

King Henry VIII

One of the more legendary recorded cases of a prominent historical figure with gout is that of King Henry VIII of England (1491 to 1547). Being grossly overweight, this monarch is the reason the term “disease of kings” was coined when referring to gout. King Henry VIII was often portrayed holding a piece of meat or glass of wine.

Back in the 1400’s most didn’t realize the importance of diet and exercise!

Dialogue between the Gout and Mr Franklin

And across the seas in the United States, Benjamin Franklin, who invented bifocals and the lightening rod and is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, had gout and missed many meetings while drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin Franklin suffered from Gout
Benjamin Franklin suffered from Gout

In fact, gout played a big role in the origins and outcome of the American Revolution, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the ratification of the Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the Comte de Vergennes (a French nobleman who was instrumental in obtaining the money to finance the Revolution) all suffered from gout. Reportedly, Franklin was so severely afflicted by gout that he was carried by convicts in a sedan chair to the Constitutional Convention.

In 1780 he wrote an essay titled: “Dialogue between the gout and Mr.Franklin”.

Dialogue between Franklin and Gout
Dialogue Between Franklin and the Gout’, as published in an 1819 collection by Franklin’s grandson, William Temple Franklin. From the Wellcome Library, London.

Read the full version here

Gout is on the Increase Today

Today the term Gout sounds almost medieval. But this type of arthritis is increasing, especially in older males. High uric acid affects all sorts of people though – from athletes to children. This is why Lifetones Acid Clear is used for such a wide variety of ailments which all originate from acidosis.

While gout can be painful it is a treatable condition. Onset and flare-ups can be controlled by cutting down/eliminating certain “high purine” foods such as: certain meats especially liver, kidneys and bacon; poultry especially turkey and certain seafoods like anchovies, haddock, herring, mackerel, mussels and sardines. Drinking alcohol of any type can trigger a gout attack because it decreases the kidneys’ ability to filter uric acid.

To see a more extensive list of famous people with Gout visit GoutPal

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