THE UK has the highest rates of gout - often called the "disease of kings" - in Europe, figures suggest.

Experts found that one in 40 people across the UK is affected by the condition.

Gout has historically been regarded as a rich man's complaint owing to its link to overindulgence on food and alcohol.

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While many experts now regard this is an oversimplification, it is clear drinking too much and being obese are factors in its development.

Other factors include having high blood pressure or diabetes, having close relatives with gout or having long-term kidney problems.

Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.

The research authors said: "In recent years, both the prevalence and incidence of gout have increased significantly in the UK."