Sources of support for gout

Support from family and friends

Many people we spoke to welcomed and appreciated help and support they got from family and friends. This included practical help with things like walking, driving or getting to the toilet, as well as being understanding and sympathetic. Hazel feels that a person living with someone who has gout can understand it better than other people because they have seen for themselves the effects it has. 
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Joe’s wife used to bring him a large bowl of ice to put his foot in. Sam’s husband took on more of the cleaning tasks in the house. Eddie was pleased that his daughter was a good listener. Jonathan asked colleagues for advice. 
Although some people felt no need for extra support, others valued help with finding information about gout from friends or relatives. A few were cautious about accepting help from other people because of fears that they might accidentally cause more pain. Some people preferred to be left alone. Several were aware that their gout had an impact on family members or friends. (For more see ‘Impact of gout on family, friends and relationships’).
People sometimes found it hard to listen to family or friends making jokes about gout (For more see ‘Historical perceptions and myths about gout’).

Living arrangements

While some people who lived with others felt that their gout impacted on these people and their relationships with them, they usually appreciated the support that they could provide. 

People who lived alone felt that they were particularly affected by gout. For Eddie, going out and meeting friends was important because he lived alone. Attacks of gout had a big impact on his social life and the amount of company he had because he could not get out and about. People talked about the importance of having someone around to help out in little ways, like making a cup of tea. 
Val lived in a large family and found it difficult to manage all the household chores when she had attacks because there was a lot to do. 

Support from other people with gout

Harry found it useful to swap stories with other people who had gout. He felt that they were more likely to be genuinely interested in talking about it than people who had not had it. Like others, Harry found it useful being able to compare his symptoms with other people and to know that he was not alone. He felt lucky that his gout was not as severe as some people he came across. 
Others shared information about medication they were taking or practical tips that had helped them. Hazel has a number of relatives with gout, so she knows they understand what it’s like when she talks to them. Other people did not feel the need to discuss their gout with others.
A number of people were not aware that they knew anyone with gout until they were diagnosed themselves. They were surprised to discover how common it is. Pat thought that gout was something people didn’t talk about often. Several people wished that they had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with other people with gout. Like some others, Jeff was glad to help others by passing on what he had learnt about gout.
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Religion and spirituality

Several people felt that their religious and/or spiritual beliefs had helped them to cope with the pain of gout. A few found praying helpful if they were feeling ‘low’ or in pain. Jill believes in energy therapies including reiki – a spiritual practice based around the idea of universal life energy. Other people had religious or spiritual beliefs but had not thought about them in relation to gout. 

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Last reviewed December 2016


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