Gout & Bone and Joint Health
Subcutaneous tophi – or a buildup of monosodium urate crystals – can develop in fibrous tissue around the joints as a result of gout. Even in the early-stages of gout – before the patient develops symptoms – urate crystals begin depositing in and around the joints. This is characterized by a thin layer of crystals across the cartilage in the joint, or small nodules of crystals deposited inside the joint. The nodules grow over time and can be felt on physical examination. These nodules can become large and disfiguring.
The point at which a deformity begins will vary significantly from person to person. The higher the serum uric acid level, the more rapidly tophi deposits will accumulate around the joints and lead to damage. Timely and ongoing treatment is needed to reduce long-term and permanent bone, joint and tissue damage.
Encourage Patients to Minimize Risk for Gout and Protect their Bone and Joint Health
Maintaining a healthy serum uric acid level of 6 mg/dL or below is vital to minimizing a patient’s risk for gout and protecting their long-term bone and joint health. Encourage your patients to get their serum uric acid tested every six months and check for other health issues.
While gout is growing in prevalence, just 10 percent of gout patients are getting the ongoing treatment that they need. It is important to educate patients about the importance of routine sUA monitoring – and the consequences for not properly managing their gout and elevated uric acid levels. This includes making sure they are taking steps such as taking medications as prescribed; exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight; and staying hydrated to flush their kidneys and help to remove uric acid from the bloodstream.