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Targeted gout services needed

THE arthritis Annual Appeal Week begins tomorrow.

More than 670,000 New Zealanders have arthritis with the highest incidence of gout arthritis occurring in Tairawhiti with 8.5 percent of the population suffering from the painfully crippling condition.

Gout arthritis (known commonly as gout) disproportionately affects Maori and Pacific Island people.

Sharp crystals of uric acid form in and around the joints, causing excruciating pain and swelling (often in the big toe).

If untreated, gout arthritis can become chronic, leading to permanent joint damage. Arthritis New Zealand is actively advocating for a model of care for gout arthritis.

“We need an action plan that includes specific provision for gout arthritis, especially for Maori and Pacific populations,’’ said Arthritis New Zealand chef executive Philip Kearney.

“Often gout is not recognised as a form of arthritis and misconceptions about it are common.

“Increasing the number of people on well-managed gout programmes could reduce the cost of gout arthritis in the health system and greatly improve the wellbeing of Maori and Pacific Island people who have a genetic predisposition to gout arthritis and yet are underserviced in current gout arthritis management.”

Every year, Arthritis New Zealand helps thousands of people who have arthritis to enrich their lives by offering information and advice from arthritis educators.

These services would not be possible without the donations Arthritis New Zealand receives from people like you.

The Annual Appeal Week will be from 24 to 30 September 2019, with the street collection day on Friday, September 27.

There is an easiest way to support those living with arthritis — donate online or phone 0900 333 20 to donate $20. For more information about arthritis, the annual appeal, or if you’d like to talk to an arthritis educator, phone 0800 663 463 or email info@arthritis.org.nz

PIN PRICK: Vicky Harris takes a blood sample from Te Warihi Hetaraka to check for gout. File picture