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N. Korean leader suffering from gout: source

12:02 September 26, 2014

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is believed to be suffering from gout due to his poor management of his health as well as family traits, a source familiar with North Korea affairs said Friday.

Speculation has been rife that the young leader in his early 30s may have a health problem as recent video footage released from the North has shown him walking with a limp.

Kim last appeared in public on Sept. 3 to attend a concert. He was absent from this year's second session of the country's rubber-stamp parliament on Thursday.

"Kim Jong-un is suffering from gout, which is why he is limping on both legs," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I understand that he is suffering from gout along with hyperuricemia, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure."

Kim's health is believed to have deteriorated due to his habit of frequent drinking and overeating.

The source noted, however, that gout runs in Kim's family.

Kim's grandfather, the North's founding leader, Kim Il-sung; his father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il; and his elder brother, Kim Jong-nam, all suffered from the disease.

Gout is often caused by obesity, which results from a high-calorie diet, drinking, and a lack of exercise. Genetic factors also play a large role.

Another source familiar with the communist country claimed that North Korean doctors recently made secret visits to Germany, Switzerland and other European countries to find ways to treat Kim.

As Kim's health deteriorated, however, there is speculation that European doctors may have later made trips to the North as well.

hague@yna.co.kr
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