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ABSTRACT. Gout is an articular disease defined by acute attacks of inflammatory arthritis, which most often involve the metatarsophalangeal joint of the hallux. A gout attack with this localization was formerly known as podagra. The evolution of the disease involves acute attacks alternating with asymptomatic periods. It is also a well-known fact for physicians that gout is only the outward tip of the iceberg represented by hyperuricemia, the biochemical syndrome defined by increased blood concentrations of the uric acid and often without clinical expression. Yet, when we trespass upon the confines of medicine, we will discover less-known facts about the historical and cultural implications gout has had since ancient times. Within this wider scope, we can consider podagra (a name with origins in Ancient Egypt), and therefore gout, to be a disease with one of the most long-standing medical descriptions; many of the great cultural and medical figures in Antiquity and the Middle Ages contributed to its description. The perception about gout, its causes and its treatment has changed profoundly during centuries, among physicians and the general population as well. Gout has gone through various epidemiological trends in terms of Zeitgeist and Ortgeist: gout attacks that broke out, at some point in history, in some ethnic groups or in some historical personalities, were sometimes landmarks that made history or culture look different afterwards. The present work reviews the cultural impact and the major historical implications hyperuricemias, and especially gout, had at one time or another. pp. 17–24

Keywords: gout; podagra; hyperuricemia; history; culture

Bogdan Mircea Mihai
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Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine
Cristina Mihaela Lacatusu
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Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine

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