Gout & Bone and Joint Health
If you have gout, your bone and joint health is at risk.
Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by serve pain, redness, and tenderness in joints. During a gout attack, a person will experience sudden and severe episodes of pain, warmth and swelling in one or more joints.
Over time, gout and elevated levels of uric acid can lead to large tophi, or deposits of crystals, forming in the joints, bones, cartilage or under the skin. These deposits can lead to erosion of the bone and joint damage, and can ultimately result in deformities – particularly of the hands and feet – which can result in loss of normal use.
Timely and ongoing treatment of gout is important in order to avoid permanent bone, joint and tissue damage.
Control Gout and Protect Your Bone and Joint Health
Maintaining a healthy serum uric acid level of 6 mg/dL or below is important to reduce risk for gout and long-term damage to bones and joints. Ask your doctor for a routine serum uric acid blood test to see if you have elevated uric acid. Your doctor may also order additional blood tests to check for other health issues.
The best way to protect against permanent bone, joint and tissue damage from gout is to talk to the doctor – right at the first attack – to determine an ongoing treatment plan. If your uric acid levels are high, your doctor may prescribe medications to keep uric acid levels low and reduce your risk for future gout flares. It is important to take these medications as prescribed – and not to stop them without talking with the doctor. It is also important to tell your doctor about all other medications and supplements you are taking, as some may be raising your uric acid levels.
Other steps – such as drinking plenty of water to flush the kidneys and help to remove uric acid from the bloodstream; exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight; and avoiding trigger foods – are also important for reducing risk.
To learn more about gout and bone health, download this brochure.