As the rheumatology hoards board post-ACR flights, it may be wise to consider their risk of an in-flight gout attack. The following is a discussion on an internet medical advice website called eHealth forum.
Is there any connection between long haul flying and gout attacks?
Certainly. Long flights can trigger gout attacks whether you fly high altitude or nap of the earth.
The health of the joints is maintained by healthy joint (synovial) fluids. There is nothing like blood vessels to circulate synovial fluids in the joints. The old fluids are squeezed out through the spaces between the cells in the joint capsules (synoviums) when we carry weight or exercise. The fresh fluids are produced by synovial cells when stimulated by exercise. That is why our joints feel better after walking, running, and other exercises.
In a long flight there is not enough exercise for a person to keep the joint fluids "fresh". This results in deterioration of joint fluids and joint tissues, which lowers the ph in the joints, causes the shedding of the coatings to expose the raw urate (msu) crystals, and triggers gout attacks. The same can occur when we sit down for too long anywhere. It's also part of the reason why gout attacks occur most often during the sleep hours. It may also be the reason why geniuses are more prong to gout -- unlike common mortals who run around for daily choirs, the geniuses sit down day and night keeping their brains busy but not their joints.
To prevent gout attacks and other arthritic discomfort, drink a lot of fluids, alkalize yourself, walk around often, and do some flying yoga in-flight. They can be helpful.
So, given that rheumatologists are clearly geniuses, and likely highly under-alkalized, it may be wise to tuck an indomethacin or two into the overhead.