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  • Gout sounds like a horrifically painful condition brought

  • on by affluence that was considered fashionable

  • and a sign of wealth.

  • Though we know now what causes gout, a buildup in uric acid

  • caused by a rich diet of meats and booze

  • that mostly affects men.

  • It was a malady met with a lot of confusion

  • back in the glory days of gout.

  • Today we're talking about the disease

  • of kings, that is, gout.

  • But before we dip our toes into this,

  • be sure to subscribe to the Weird History channel and let

  • us know about what favorite disease you

  • would like to hear more about.

  • Now get your anti-inflammatories ready.

  • We're going gouting.

  • Gout is an arthritic condition characterized by the Mayo

  • Clinic as sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness,

  • and tenderness in the joints, often the joint

  • at the base of the big toe.

  • It's not surprising then that people

  • affected by gout lovingly describe the condition

  • as agonizing.

  • In the late 17th century, physician Thomas Sydenham

  • wrote that gout was so exquisitely painful as to not

  • endure the weight of the clothes nor the shaking of the room

  • from a person's walking briskly therein.

  • Translated roughly to today's nomenclature,

  • gout was painful as [BLEEP].

  • So painful, in fact, one couldn't

  • wear clothes or be in a room with people quickly pacing

  • around.

  • Take your impatient pacing elsewhere, Thomas.

  • Thomas likened the feeling of gout

  • to that of a dislocated bone, which

  • is not a favorable condition for a bone to be in.

  • In the 19th century, Reverend Sydney Smith

  • described his gout flareups as equal to walking on eyeballs.

  • So, yeah, good luck on seeing that pleasant picture

  • from your brain.

  • Much like Robin Hood, gout was thought to specifically attack

  • the rich.

  • From the earliest description from Hippocrates

  • himself, gout was linked with indulgent foods

  • and heavy alcohol consumption, a diet only the wealthy

  • could afford.

  • Due to this fact, gout started getting a reputation

  • as the disease of kings and even became

  • a bit of a humble brag, depicted as desirable

  • since it was a clear if not painful

  • and gross proof of wealth.

  • Poor people were priced out of the fun time gout provided.

  • In an 1900 comment from the London Times, a writer claimed,

  • the common cold is well named, but the gout seems instantly

  • to raise the patient's social status,

  • meaning gout sufferers were the original influencers

  • of their times.

  • Hashtag meatfoot, hashtag datgoutlife.

  • Medical treatments for gout ran the gambit as far

  • as making any logical sense at all.

  • From acupuncture in ancient China

  • down to consuming autumn crocuses

  • and the Byzantine Empire, it seemed

  • like a lot of throwing darts at the wall and seeing what stuck.

  • But the strangest remedy of them all

  • came from a 1518 medical book with a terrifying recipe

  • for better health.

  • Eat a fluffy little kitten.

  • Physician Lorenz Fries described this on-the-level gout

  • treatment recipe as, roast a fat, old goose and stuff

  • with chopped kittens, lard, incense, wax,

  • and flower of rye.

  • No, but we aren't done yet.

  • Once you eat this kitten-stuffed goose,

  • take the drippings from this creepy turducken Thanksgiving

  • table centerpiece and apply to those achy, gouty joints,

  • as one would with BenGay.

  • And just to state the obvious to everyone,

  • this concoction did not cure gout.

  • The closest to a cure of all these

  • were the Byzantine's since today colchicine is

  • used to treat gout, which is made from the autumn crocus

  • and not from adorable house pets.

  • You know what they say about a man's foot size?

  • Well, they took that extremely seriously from the 16th

  • to the 18th century.

  • Many during this time thought of gout as an aphrodisiac

  • because nobody ever understood what a woman wanted.

  • In 1588, essayist Michel de Montaigne declared,

  • when a man's leg were in a weakened state,

  • the genital parts are fuller, better nourished,

  • and more vigorous.

  • Nasty and wrong.

  • Gout of the junk is not a thing so no need to add that

  • to your Bumble profile.

  • In 1693, a Dutch writer, with a very loose idea

  • of how a human body works, said gout was great

  • because it allowed men to rest their reproductive organs

  • due to the whole in so much pain I can't walk

  • and must lay down aspect of having gout.

  • He said, for when a patient who is suffering from gout

  • is forced to lie on his back, anyone

  • who knows the channels of the sperm

  • trace their source to the kidneys

  • can easily and at his leisure comprehend

  • that the loins and the kidneys are hot and inflamed.

  • If you should find yourself with hot and inflamed kidneys,

  • please go to a hospital immediately,

  • no matter how excited you might also feel.

  • The oldest description of gout dates back to 400 BCE

  • by Hippocrates himself.

  • He believed gout was the result of phlegm settling

  • into the joints and claimed this delicious and unsettling

  • condition to be incurable.

  • Hippocrates stated, persons affected

  • with the gout who are aged have tophi

  • in their joints, who have led a hard life,

  • and whose bowels are constipated are beyond the power

  • of medicine to cure.

  • Hippocrates went on to assign the disease

  • cute little nicknames, terming gout the unwalkable disease

  • and arthritis of the rich, since he also

  • noticed the correlation of an indulgent diet of rich food

  • and wine and contracting fat beef foot disease.

  • For centuries, the most glaringly apparent and widely

  • understood trait associated with gout was its penchant for feet.

  • The ancient Greeks referred to gout as podagra,

  • or foot grabber, due to the afflictions favorite place

  • to settle in and get cozy was the big toe

  • of the poor or, in most cases decidedly not so poor,

  • gout sufferers.

  • In the 17th century, our old pal Thomas Sydenham

  • noticed this, too, describing a gout flareup,

  • waking up a patient with a pain which usually seizes

  • the great toe, but sometimes the heel, the calf of the leg,

  • or the ankle.

  • Today, doctors chalk up gout's foot fetish tendencies

  • due to the extremities not being as warm

  • as other parts of the body.

  • The big toe, in particular, collects

  • a build up of urate crystals, gout's power

  • source and favorite food because it is used the most frequently.

  • The Boston Tea Party, a major step

  • toward the American Revolution and the most tea ever spilled

  • before Twitter, may not have even happened if not for gout.

  • William Pitt the Elder, Britain's leading statesman

  • was suffering a gout flareup during the parliamentary debate

  • of the Stamp Act in 1764.

  • Once he was better, Pitt pushed to repeal the act,

  • saying Americans are the sons, not the bastards of England.

  • As subjects they are entitled to the right of common

  • representation and cannot be bound to pay taxes without

  • their consent.

  • Yet another tinge of gout caused Pitt to miss yet

  • another parliament meeting in which members agreed

  • to impose a high tax on tea imported

  • to the American colonies, which led to people dumping tea

  • into a river over a boat to tell those English where they can

  • stick their higher taxed tea.

  • If only Pitt had been there to argue his case,

  • the Boston Tea Party may not have ever been a thing.

  • Henry VIII, who we just did a video on recently,

  • was a hot-tempered murderous King

  • who got rid of a couple of wives and obsessed over

  • his lack of male heir.

  • But did you know he also had gout?

  • Yes, but hardly the only ruler to suffer from a bad case

  • of the disease of kings.

  • Decades earlier, the Florence Medici ruler Piero di Cosimo

  • was so sick with gout he was rudely

  • nicknamed Piero the Gouty by a less sensitive society

  • than we have today.

  • Benjamin Franklin, too, suffered from the affliction.

  • Benji the big gout baby wrote a letter to his beloved disease,

  • saying Madame Gout, what have I done

  • to merit these cruel sufferings?

  • Gout did write back to him.

  • Many things.

  • You have ate and drank too freely and too much

  • indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.

  • Pretty cool to write fan fiction of your crippling and chronic

  • disease, but that's crazy old Ben Franklin.

  • Another leader who fell victim to his diet of meats and wine

  • was Emperor Charles V, whose empire

  • included territories of Europe, Asia, Africa, and South

  • America.

  • Charles was a gout boy, but not like a regular gout boy,

  • like the one that changed the course of history gout boy.

  • Due to his meaty diet and love of beer and wine,

  • including a novelty-sized four-handed drinking

  • mug I'm sure everyone thought hilarious,

  • his gout flareups were so severe that during his clashes

  • with the French he could barely lead.

  • After the French took Metz in 1552,

  • our meaty emperor was suffering from the effects of gout

  • so brutally he called off the attempt

  • to recapture it from the French, handing

  • them an important victory and bumming out the Emperor's army.

  • Charles basically said, don't blame me, blame my gout,

  • before abdicating his throne and retiring to a monastery

  • where nobody expected anything from him

  • and he could suffer from his affliction

  • without having to do things.

  • Those who came down with a case of gout

  • were advised to stay off their feet and rest.

  • But in the interim, doctors came up with a few alternative,

  • and let's face it, cute footwear to treat the symptoms.

  • For centuries, doctors would use a gout stool

  • to relieve inflammation, which was quite literally just

  • a common stool for which to rest a leg

  • and not a magical stool that cured gout.

  • Doctors would also wrap the foot in a flannel

  • and told patients to wait for the bout of gout

  • to pass, which could take up to two weeks.

  • Advice also given to parents in the '90s, when their children,

  • too, became wrapped in flannel.

  • Just wait for it to pass.

  • By the early 20th century, physicians ditched the flannel

  • and designed a glass boot, which doctors would use to apply heat

  • to treat the symptoms of gout.

  • While the heat might have provided temporary relief,

  • it unfortunately also made things a whole lot worse.

  • Heat could dislodge the uric acid

  • from its cozy home in the joints and travel straight

  • to the kidneys, which were far less hospitable environment

  • for uric acid, as the organ would shut down

  • and the patient could perish.

  • Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, or excess

  • of uric acid in the blood.

  • Estrogen provides protection for women from hyperuricemia,

  • making them less likely to contract gout.

  • However, as women age and experience menopause,

  • estrogen decreases while their are opportunities for gout,

  • unlike their opportunities for meaty film roles, increases.

  • Doctors have also discovered gout

  • likes to keep it in the family, finding up

  • to 80% of gout sufferers come from a family of fellow gout

  • sufferers.

  • Nepotism does work against people sometimes.

  • First recognized as a form of arthritis in 1848

  • by Alfred Baring Garrod, the condition

  • continues to affect millions of people to this day.

  • In fact, doctors are seeing cases of gout rise,

  • with the affliction affecting 8.3 million people

  • in the United States alone.

  • As the US population becomes older and heavier, what

  • with food and wine being so tasty and exercise being so,

  • eh, I'll start it next year, doctors

  • should probably expect those numbers to continue to climb.

  • As should gout's social status, because Jared Leto and Dick

  • Cheney are two notable people who both have the affliction.

  • So have you had to deal with gout?

  • Do you feel shame?

  • Let us know in the comments below.

  • And while you're at it, check out some of these other videos