Once diagnosed with gout, a new patient will likely be given medications to treat his or her disease. Like many other medications for blood pressure or high cholesterol, urate-lowering medicines are meant to be taken daily for life. They should not be discontinued—even when a gout flare is over.
Though it seems like your health is back to normal, the underlying cause of the disease—elevated serum uric acid—needs to be controlled. Medications for pain and inflammation can be stopped, as directed after pain and inflammation are subsided—but urate-lowering therapy must be continued for life.
At this early stage, gout flares usually last three to seven days.
When tolerable, use cool/ice compresses to help with pain and inflammation in addition to the medication.
Treatment and Monitoring
If you’re not already seeing your doctor regularly for your gout, it is important to schedule check-ups every six months and get your uric acid levels checked at each visit. A healthy uric acid level is 6.0 mg/dL—so your doctor should be working to get your number within this range or lower.
Medication adherence is essential, but diet modification and exercise are still recommended.
Your doctor may ask you to keep a journal, to see whether anything—food or lifestyle activity—is triggering gout flares. This needs to be an honest journal that includes five pieces of critical information:
- Timing and duration of the gout flare
- The joint that is affected
- Whether medication is taken daily
- Foods and beverages consumed each day
- Type and length of exercise in your regimen (or not)
A plant and grain-based diet is good for overall health.
It’s also good for a healthy cardiovascular and gastrointestinal system. It works to help reduce gout flares, too! Keep these foods in your diet: low-fat or non-fat dairy products; fresh vegetables and fresh fruit; and nuts and grains.
Because uric acid is formed from the breakdown of purines, it is best to avoid purine-rich foods that can trigger a gout flare: beer and grain liquors; red meat, lamb and pork; organ meats such as liver, kidneys and sweetbreads; and seafood, especially shellfish like shrimp, lobster, anchovies and sardines. Check out more details on the gout diet and lifestyle here.
While gout is a lifelong condition, it can be managed – or even completely controlled – by sticking with a proper treatment plan that combines the right medication with diet and lifestyle changes. Because gout is associated with other serious health issues, an accurate diagnosis and ongoing management is critical.