It’s important to schedule check-ups with your patients every six months and make sure you’re testing their uric acid levels during each visit. Depending upon their uric acid level, you should be working to get their number within 6.0 mg/dL or lower.
Though medication adherence is essential, diet modification and exercise should still be recommended. A plant and grain-based diet is good for overall health, as well as a healthy cardiovascular and gastrointestinal system. Check out more details on the gout diet and lifestyle here.
The pain during a gout attack is often so excruciating that many go to an emergency room for relief.
On a pain scale of one to 10, most gout patients rank their pain as a nine or a 10. Many report that during an attack, the affected joint feels as if it is caught in a mechanical device. Even the thought of a bedsheet touching the joint is enough to make them cringe.
Gout attacks come on quickly and can last for several days. After a first attack, most people will experience another painful flare within a year. More than three in four gout sufferers will have another attack within two years. Subsequent attacks often are more severe and last longer.
If necessary, encourage your patients to keep a journal of their habits, to see whether anything—food or lifestyle activity—is triggering their gout flares. The journal should include 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)
Patients can print off and use the below example for each journal entry. Encourage patients to be honest when recording this information.
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!