Actress Sarah Hyland opens up about health challenges—including gout
“The most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.” That’s how actress Sarah Hyland, best known for her role as Haley on the hit TV comedy “Modern Family,” described having gout. Hyland is a two-time kidney transplant recipient who has spoken frankly about her health challenges.
In an interview on “The Ellen Show,” Hyland talked about her serious health problems--at age 28, she’s already had 16 surgeries, including six over the past couple of years, and has struggled with major depression. She continued working on the set of “Modern Family” while undergoing dialysis after her first transplanted kidney failed.
When Hyland mentioned that she’d had gout, host Ellen DeGeneres’s first question was, “What’s gout?”
For a condition as common as gout—a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis affecting well over 8 million Americans—it’s not well understood. Gout occurs when high levels of uric acid in the blood lead to crystals forming in the joints, causing inflammation and pain. Because healthy kidneys clear uric acid, individuals with kidney disease are at increased risk for developing gout.
It’s estimated that 1 out of 10 people with gout have kidney disease, and an even higher proportion of people with kidney disease have gout. Even so, misunderstanding about gout persists.
Many people believe gout is caused by eating rich foods, or that only men or overweight people get gout. Hyland’s experience proves that this is simply not the case.
“I think the more people talk about anything that people are scared to talk about, it’s good for all of us,” DeGeneres said to Hyland. We agree, and that’s why we launched our Goutful campaign in 2018 to help demystify gout. Goutful is a play on “doubtful” and uses an educational webpage, graphics and a “Myths & Facts” quiz to debunk many of the misconceptions people have about gout—including the common beliefs that gout is the patient’s fault and that gout isn’t a serious condition. The campaign is part of AKF’s ongoing work to provide quality health education content to the CKD community and is supported by an educational grant from Horizon Pharma.
We’re grateful to Sarah Hyland for opening up about her experience with gout, and we hope it’s the start of many more frank discussions about one of the most painful complications of kidney disease.