During this period of on-and-off gout flares, patients are bound to be frustrated and have questions. The more open your dialogue is with your patient, the more confident they’ll feel about your care.
If patients aren’t asking you questions…
…they should be.
Here are a few questions you should be answering, especially if your patients aren’t asking:
- What is [the patient’s] serum uric acid level?
- What different measures can [the patient] take to bring UA levels under control?
- What is causing gout flares to return more frequently and last for longer periods of time?
- Is there anything else [the patient] can do to try to reduce or eliminate painful gout flares?
- What will happen if gout continues at this pace? Will [the patient] have deformed joints and/or develop painful tophi?
- [If you’re not a rheumatologist] Should [the patient] see a rheumatologist at this time, or seek another opinion?
If patients continue to experience several years of flares, or aren’t happy with your care, make sure to refer them to a rheumatologist who specializes in treating gouty arthritis.
If you are a rheumatologist or gout specialist, don’t forget to sign up for the Gout Specialists Network so patients can find you!
Join the Gout Specialist Network
The Gout Education Society believes that continuing education for medical professionals and their staff is crucial when it comes to keeping up with the latest in gout treatment, diagnosis and management.
In October 2012, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) published its long anticipated “Guidelines for the Management of Gout.” In September 2015, ACR expanded on the existing guidelines and released new classification criteria about gout.
With gout on the rise, it is essential that all patients, especially those touched by gout, are knowledgeable about this serious disease. You can always learn more from your doctor during regular visits. Take a stand on gout!