It’s been my sad duty today to tell someone that they have got gout.
First his doctor suspected gout but wasn’t sure. He ran the usual blood test for uric acid. The doctor didn’t understand the results, and suggested it was unlikely to be gout.
Like 3 in 4 doctors, he got confused between facts about laboratory reference ranges for uric acid, and facts about medical uric acid safety.
Our patient is left worrying what is wrong with him, and wondering what to do next. Someone had to step up and help this poor guy. That someone turned out to be me.
This is an ongoing story, fresh from the gout forum. As I write, I do not know how the story will end. Will our gout sufferer get the right diagnosis? Will he get the right treatment? Can he ever get the right lifestyle improvement advice if his gout is undiagnosed? You can find out by joining the gout forum link below.
Here are the simple gout facts we have learned so far.
Doctor, can I have a gout diagnosis?
- We have a gout calculator to help assess the likelihood of gout
- Uric acid in the blood is the most important factor
- 3 out of 4 doctors underestimate the significance of uric acid blood test results
We also get the feeling, when family doctors are unsure about gout, they do not know what to do next.
Does gout diagnosis matter?
Correct diagnosis of gout is important. The earlier it is detected, the sooner we can stop damage to joints and organs.
Uric acid crystals grow very slowly. It can take years before they show as an acute gout attack. We are obviously concerned about gout attacks, but the hidden dangers of high uric acid are worse.
Gout attacks come and go, but every day that uric acid crystals exist in your body is another day when joints get damaged. Then it gets worse.
Gout Joint Damage
Bones, cartilage and ligaments cannot repair themselves properly in the presence of uric acid crystals. Wherever gout starts, it can eventually spread to all joints, but it does not stop there.
Gout Organ Damage
Uric acid crystals can form lumps, called tophi in any soft tissue. The first organ damage usually affects the skin. Lumps grow and can affect mobility and eventually burst through the skin. Lumps commonly spread into the kidneys, as painful, damaging kidney stones. Lumps grow in the heart affecting valve operation. The only organ that is not known to be affected is the brain. Learn more about uric acid lumps in my tophi guidelines.
Slow damage to joints and organs means the affects only become obvious in old age. The time when we are less able to cope. Early diagnosis can prevent all this if uric acid is controlled.
Do You have Gout?
Apart from the link to more information about tophi, I’ve deliberately avoided linking to the gout facts in this article. Search for them if you like. I have hundreds of gout facts, but only some of them apply to you. If you are having trouble getting the right diagnosis or treatment, tell me in the gout forum. I understand the stress of unanswered gout questions.
I can give you the right gout facts that match your unique situation. Let’s work together with your doctors to make sure you get the treatment you need. Start your own personal gout story.