Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that affects more than 8 million Americans.1 Unfortunately, fewer than one in three people who have it are getting the gout treatment they need.2 If you have gout, it is important to take it just as seriously as you would any other health issue.2 Visit your doctor, get the treatment you need and deserve and above all, don’t let gout get you down.
Review the latest research
A recent survey conducted by the Gout Education Society revealed that fewer than a third of people with gout are getting the gout treatment they need to avoid flares and complications.2 This is troubling, because according to N Lawrence Edwards MD, MACP, MACR, chairman of the Gout Education Society, “Gout is an extremely destructive disease that needs to be addressed year-round—not just during flares … there is low awareness of the long-term health implications for gout, including the link to other comorbid health issues.”3
Learn the truth
Eighty-four percent of people with gout agree that it is a very serious health issue that requires ongoing treatment and management.2 However, a significant stigma remains. More than two-thirds of gout patients—and half of Americans overall—believe that gout is “an embarrassing disease.”2 Although gout historically has been considered a disease of excess, this notion is not necessarily accurate. What many people don’t know is that recent research has shown that heredity may contribute more to the risk of gout than diet.4,5
Recognize the impact
Because most patients aren’t getting the gout treatment they need, the disease is taking a serious toll not just on their health, but on their lives in general.2 According to the survey, people with gout suffer with more than just health problems like kidney and heart disease—they also deal with depression, poor quality of life and lost time from work.2 Here are some key facts and figures2:
- Four in 10 patients say their quality of life is not as good because of gout
- One in four patients feels like gout controls his or her life
- One in four patients feels isolated or alone in his or her struggles
- One in four patients frequently misses work because of gout
Understand the pain
If you’ve never had a gout attack, it might be difficult to imagine what it feels like. People with gout compare their gout flares to some of the most painful conditions a person can endure.2 Respondents to the Gout Education Society survey made these comparisons to the pain of a gout flare2:
- 39% said that a gout flare is more painful than a severe burn
- 36% said that a gout flare is more painful than kidney stones
- 34% said that a gout flare is more painful than breaking a bone
- 29% said that a gout flare is more painful than childbirth
- 25% said that a gout flare is more painful than being hit by a car
Nearly 1 in 5 respondents said nothing is more painful than a gout flare.2
Talk with your doctor about gout and gout treatment
If you suspect you have gout but have not yet been diagnosed, make an appointment with your doctor. One way to prepare for your visit is by downloading and completing the Gout Flare Questionnaire (from Resources for Patients).
If you have already been diagnosed with gout and are suffering with frequent flares, ask your doctor these questions about gout treatment:
- What is my serum uric acid level?
- What can I do to help control my uric acid level?
- Is there any way to prevent gout flares?
- What can I do to prevent my gout from getting worse?
Respect yourself and your health
When it comes to your health, it’s important to be your own advocate. Educate yourself about gout, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be sure to communicate clearly with your healthcare providers. It’s your health and your life. Take control.
NOTE: This article was not written by a medical professional and is not intended to substitute for the guidance of a physician. These are not Hikma’s recommendations for gout flare prevention, but rather facts and data collected from various reliable medical sources. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.