We're sorry to hear you have gout (or may have gout).
The goal of this guide is to provide information while awaiting evaluation with your doctor or additional information after you have seen him or her. Please keep in mind that this guide is not intended to replace a face-to-face evaluation with your doctor.
First, some background information about this guide and about the condition itself:
Gout is a condition in which one or more joints become inflamed when crystals of urate (also called uric acid) deposit there. Urate is a byproduct of normal bodily functions and is removed from the body by the kidneys.
This guide will ask you a series of questions and depending on your answers, information will be provided and additional questions asked until the conclusion.
Would you first like more general information about gout? Or, would you prefer information more specific to your own situation?
Okay. The information below is organized into the following sections:
1) How is gout diagnosed?
2) How severe is your gout?
3) What are the treatment options?
4) What happens over time?
Let's get started!
The definitive diagnosis of gout is usually made when your doctor takes a sample of joint fluid and sees gout (urate) crystals under the microscope. The diagnosis does not absolutely require a sample of joint fluid, however. Sometimes, the diagnosis can be made based on your symptoms alone. For example, if you have repeated episodes of severe first toe pain and swelling that get better over days, it is very likely that you have gout. You cannot make the diagnosis of gout from a blood test, even though most persons with gout have a high blood uric acid level. Other ways to make the diagnosis include x-rays or microscopic analysis of a lump of crystals (called tophi), which may complicate more severe forms of the condition.
Click on the appropriate link below to learn more about how the severity of gout is assessed, to learn more about how your particular symptoms might be treated, or to quit.