Gout & Renal Health
Those who have gout are more likely to develop renal disease – and likewise, those who have renal disease are more likely to suffer from gout and hyperuricemia. For those who have renal disease, it will be more difficult for their kidneys to eliminate uric acid.
Over time, elevated uric acid levels can lead to painful gout flares and decreased renal function. Hyperuricemia can lead to tissue deposition of monosodium urate crystals (MSU). Uric acid stones – a common cause of radiolucent kidney stones – can also develop. Research has shown that one in five people with gout will develop kidney stones. Left untreated, these stones can block the urinary tract and result in infection.
Hyperuricemia can also lead to interstitial nephropathy, in which the spaces between the kidney tubules become inflamed and can interfere with kidney function. Interstitial nephropathy can either be acute or chronic – and can eventually result in kidney failure.
Encourage Patients to Protect Their Kidneys and Minimize Risk for Gout
Maintaining a healthy serum uric acid level of 6 mg/dL or below is vital to minimizing a patient’s risk for gout and renal disease. Encourage your patients to get their serum uric acid tested every six months, and also measure their glomerular filtration rate to test kidney function.
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 renal health. 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.