The painful growth of gout

You know you should watch what you eat so you don't end up obese or facing heart problems, but there's another reason to keep an eye on your diet: gout.

This painful problem is becoming a pretty big deal in America.

Today Dan Kozlowski is feeling A-okay.

But he'll never forget the pain that first sent him to the doctor.

"The left toe was swollen, red and hot to the touch, but this was the kind of pain like something was stabbing your toe. It was constant."

It turns out that Dan had gout, a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood.

When this happens the uric acid can form hard crystals that deposit in the joints leading to swelling and pain. Dan is just one of a soaring number of people getting gout, according to Rheumatologist Joseph Skender. "We're seeing more Gout than we used to as people are getting more obese."

The percentage of Americans suffering with the disease has nearly doubled in the past two decades, now reaching more than 8 million people. that's because the same foods and drinks that can cause you to pack on the pounds can also lead to an attack of gout.

Diets filled with high fat red meats, shellfish and high fat dairy products like cheese and whole milk can be a recipe for pain.

Foods high in salt can also pose problems And you'll want to watch your alcohol intake, especially beer. "Beer, beef, sardines, shellfish, all the things that are on the list that cause Gout I enjoyed."

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of developing gout.

Dietitian David Schwartz recommends reducing your weight and avoiding high fat foods. "Preliminary research is showing that increasing your intake of low fat dairy foods like cottage cheese, skim milk and yogurt really can reduce the risk of developing gout. It is important to also increase your intake of water."

Dan changed his lifestyle and hopes his gout is gone for good. "When something like that happens it makes you re-examine what you're doing and what you're taking into your body."

There are also a number of medications that can help treat gout.

Gout is more common in men than women.

It's usually seen in men over 30 and in women after menopause.