Gout is a serious and painful form of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood, either because the body makes more than it should or because the kidneys do not remove as much as they should.1 This uric acid can create tiny needle-like crystals that can build up almost anywhere in your body—including your1-3:
A gout flare occurs when your body reacts to the buildup of uric acid crystals with heat, redness, swelling, and pain.4 Eventually, a flare ends after your body creates a barrier around the crystals to soothe the pain.5,6 But even after the flare plain is gone, the crystals are still in your body and can build up.5,6 In some cases, this buildup of uric acid can lead to other serious health conditions, like kidney disease.7,8 It can also cause permanent damage to bones and joints, which can lead to joint replacements or even amputation.6,9,10
A gout specialist is often a nephrologist or rheumatologist.
Getting rid of uric acid crystal buildup can help prevent future flares and the long-term damage of gout,11,12 so it’s important to talk to a gout specialist—most often a rheumatologist or nephrologist—to share your symptoms and ensure your uric acid level is well controlled.
Here’s a guide to help you talk to your doctor about gout.
What causes uric acid crystal buildup?
Despite what some might think, diet is not the main cause of uric acid buildup.1 In fact, only one-third of the uric acid in your body comes from what you eat.1 The other two-thirds is produced by the body and can be caused by factors like genetics.1,13 This means that changing your diet alone may not be enough to manage your uric acid level and adequately control your gout.
What does this mean for me?
While some medicines relieve the symptoms of a gout flare, others work to target uric acid and treat the source of your gout symptoms to prevent gout attacks from happening in the first place.12 In some instances, even with oral gout medicine, gout symptoms continue and become out of control.12
Symptoms of out-of-control gout include:
Multiple Gout Flares
two or more flares, sometimes called gout attacks, per year
uric acid crystal deposits, which look like lumps under the skin, that do not go away when a flare stops
that continues between flares
Take a step today to manage out-of-control gout.
- Eleftheriadis T, et al. J Adv Res. 2017;8(5):555-560.
- Khanna P, et al. J Clin Med. 2020;9(10):3204.
- Nicolaou S, et al. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012;199(Suppl 5):S78-S86.
- Taylor WJ, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2009;61(4):535-543.
- Schett G, et al. RMD Open. 2015;1(Suppl 1):e000046.
- Doghramji PP, et al. Postgrad Med. 2012;124(6):98-109.
- Bardin T, et al. BMC Medicine. 2017;15(1):123-133.
- Zhu Y, et al. Am J Med. 2012;125(7):679-687.
- LaMoreaux B, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020;72(Suppl 10):1345-1346.
- Dalbeth N, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015;74(6):1030-1036.
- Toprover M, et al. Arthritis Res Ther. 2020;22(1):169-180.
- FitzGerald JD, et al. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020;72(6):744-760.
- Dalbeth N, et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2019;5(1):69.