Messages for other people with gout

The people we talked to gave messages and advice for other people with gout, based on their own experiences. These are some of their suggestions:

•    If you think you might have symptoms of gout, go and see your GP. The tests for diagnosing gout are simple.

•    Be optimistic – the treatments for gout can be very effective and enable you to live a normal life. Sort out the best approach for you with your doctor, but bear in mind that there are lots of things that you can learn on the way.
•    You’re not alone. More than one in a hundred adults in the UK have gout. You might not think gout affects people like you, but remember it does not just affect older men. It can affect women and younger people too. 

•    Don’t believe the myths about gout being due to extravagant living. Most people do not need to make any drastic dietary changes so don’t go over the top with changing your diet.
•    Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about having gout. You are probably not doing anything to cause it because genetic factors are one of the most common causes.

•    The sooner you get treatment, the easier it will be to live with gout. Be reassured that although attacks are unpredictable, they will end after a few days or weeks. 
•    Don’t be afraid of medication. It can be a lot better than having gout.
•    Don’t give up if you don’t get the right treatment and advice at the start. Be persistent. Ask your GP to refer you to a specialist (rheumatologist) if you are not happy with how your gout is being managed.
•    Be aware that preventative treatments should be taken every day for life to keep uric acid levels low. You might need a higher dose of allopurinol to reduce your uric acid levels enough.

•    Take the potential long-term effects of gout seriously. Don’t just treat your attacks. Think about taking daily medication to avoid getting joint damage and long-term problems and to prevent attacks. Ask your doctor about preventative treatments if they have not been discussed with you.
•    Get as much information as you can. Good quality research can provide helpful information about treatment options. 

•    Know that there are doctors and specialists who know what you’re going through and want to help.
•    Talk openly about your feelings about gout so that people know about any pain or difficulties you‘re having. Get in touch with other people who have gout because they will understand what it’s like.

•    Ask your doctor or chemist about how and when to take your medication if you are not sure.

People also offered many practical tips to make living with gout easier (for more see ‘Practical tips for gout’).

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Last reviewed December 2016


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