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Gout Management: Mind The Gaps

Following yesterday’s feature on simple gout treatment management, I will now look at the consequences of not following that advice.

I am a great believer in a systematic approach to managing gout. If you follow my simple process, you logically move from a clear starting point to a finished objective. For most gout sufferers, the objective is a permanent pain-free life. If you do not follow my systematic approach, you introduce random risks. These are gaps in your gout management plan. In those gaps hide all manner of nasty surprises. Let’s look at some of those gaps, and the inherent risks.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive review of all potential hazards from poor gout management. I include some of the common ones that keep being discussed in the gout forums. My personal gout management tools, announced in yesterday’s article, will cover the risks associated with all failures to manage, in each of the three main gout management steps: symptoms, treatment, & diet.

Gout Management: Risks Of Bad Diagnosis

In bad gout diagnosis, I also include no diagnosis. What are the risks associated with wrong gout diagnosis?

Gout Exists But Not Diagnosed

Most cases of gout are easy to diagnose, but occasionally gout is interpreted as something else. There are two reasons for this:

  • Uric acid levels in the blood can fall during, or immediately after, a gout attack, as uric acid moves from blood into the joints in crystal form.
  • Many doctors use laboratory reference ranges as an indicator of your health. In fact, normal in this context is a statistical average range, which is totally dependent on the reference samples used. It has no medical value, as the samples could easily include gouty subjects. This is why reference ranges vary from lab to lab. The safe medical upper limit is 5mg/dL (0.30mmol/L, 300μmol/L).

Gout Diagnosed But You Have Another Disease

There are other diseases that mimic symptoms of gout. These include pseudogout, bursitis, and septic arthritis. The situation can be complicated by the fact that you can have any of these diseases together. In most cases, diagnosing these conditions as gout will lead to unnecessary suffering as the uric acid lowering medications will not help other conditions. In the worst case, if your “gout” turns out to be septic arthritis, then steroids may cause it to get worse.

Avoid Bad Gout Diagnosis

If you do not have a clear gout diagnosis, you need my personal gout symptoms assessment tool for swollen joint sufferers. This tool guides you through how to work with your doctor to get a good diagnosis of your symptoms. You can only access the tools through the gout forum, so please read yesterday’s article about simple gout treatment, then start using the gout forum.

Gout Management: Risks Of Bad Treatment

In bad gout treatment, I also include no treatment. What are the risks associated with poor gout treatment?

These treatment notes assume that you have a confirmed gout diagnosis. If you do not, none of the rest of this applies, so please go to the gout forum now.

Gout Left Untreated

The only effective treatment for gout is to maintain uric acid at a safe level. Failure to do so means that crystals will continue to form in and around your joints. More joints get involved, and lumps called tophi form in tissue throughout the body. This can happen so slowly you do not notice. After several years, these tophi will destroy your joints leaving you crippled, and can damage other organs, especially kidneys.

Gout Treated But Uric Acid Not Checked

If you take gout medicines to lower uric acid, but do not check the results, you are putting yourself into a health lottery. Most gout patients who do not get regular uric acid checks, and even some that do, fail to take a sufficient dose. Insufficient dosing is just the same as no dose at all. You may slow the process, but eventually you will become crippled or worse, if uric acid is not kept at a safe level.

Avoid Bad Gout Treatment

If you do not have a thorough gout treatment management plan, you need my personal gout treatment management tool for gout patients. This tool guides you through setting treatment goals with your doctor, and monitoring your progress towards these goals. You can only access the tools through the gout forum, so please read yesterday’s article about simple gout treatment, then start using the gout forum.

Gout Management: Risks Of Bad Diet

In bad gout diet, I also include no dietary control. What are the risks associated with poor gout diet?

These treatment notes assume that you have a confirmed gout diagnosis, and a thorough gout treatment plan. If you do not, this gout diet information does not apply, so please go to the gout forum now.

Gout Diet Unrestricted

In theory, a correct dose of uric acid lowering treatment, such as allopurinol or febuxostat (sold as Uloric or Adenuric), allows you to eat what you want. Please do not forget that the objective of your gout management plan is to lead a happy pain-free life. It will not be very happy if you fix your gout only to suffer heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or some other disease associated with bad diet.

Gout Diet Over-restricted

There are many lists of foods you should avoid with gout, and most of them are wrong. Unnecessary restriction of foods can lead to poor diet, and this will not help your gout treatment program. A balanced, varied diet is a healthy diet for gout. Unnecessary restrictions cause stress, and often lead to people abandoning a healthy lifestyle, because the effort seems too large. Only consider changes if you cannot achieve your treatment goals, and then make changes slowly.

Avoid Bad Gout Treatment

If you do not have a thorough gout treatment management plan, you need my personal gout treatment management tool for gout patients. This tool guides you through setting treatment goals with your doctor, and monitoring your progress towards these goals. You can only access the tools through the gout forum, so please read yesterday’s article about simple gout treatment, then start using the gout forum.

Gout Management: Next Steps

I have mentioned six common mistakes when managing gout. In practice, there are many more, and in almost all cases, the outcome of bad management is that you suffer unnecessary pain. Do yourself a favor, and develop a simple gout management plan today.

All the knowledge you need to do this is here on GoutPal. In fact, there is so much information here that you may feel overwhelmed. That is why I have provided a support forum. It is also why I will give you tools to help you build a good relationship with your doctor. Go to the forums now, and let us start to develop your personal plan to manage your gout and live a pain-free life. The gout forum is linked at the end of the section links near the top and bottom of every page here. For other relevant links, please see my simple gout treatment article.

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Keith Taylor at GoutPal

See the About GoutPal.com page for my details, and more about my gouty website. Keith Taylor keeps his business profile updated at his Google+ page. Please follow his website link to learn more about Keith Charlie Taylor, and to make contact.