Which Gout Management Style Describes You?

Managing gout successfully is more than just treating the flares. But what does that actually look like?

Gout management can be broken down into two categories – proactive and reactive. You can usually tell which describes you based on the types of health care providers and clinics that provide your care.

Reactive Treatment

Reactive gout treatment can help you manage the pain of a flare, but not the underlying condition. That’s why being proactive with your treatment is important. However, there may be times when you experience a painful flare and need immediate help.

  • Urgent care can be helpful when you are experiencing a flare. It should not be used as the only form of gout management, but rather as a supplement to regular appointments with your rheumatologist. Visit urgent care when you have these symptoms:
    • Red, hot and swollen joints
    • Have a high fever
    • Unusual swelling in a joint
    • Severe flare
  • Emergency room visits are typically reserved for life-threatening emergencies. If you are experiencing intense chest pain, stroke, trouble breathing or sudden vision loss, visit the emergency room immediately.

Proactive Treatment
The most effective way to manage gout is to be proactive. This means visiting your provider before you experience an attack and treating the underlying cause of gout. Just because you aren’t actively experiencing a gout attack doesn’t mean you don’t need to manage the disease.  

  • Primary care physicians are often many patients’ first stop in their gout journey. They can order a test to determine your current uric acid levels and prescribe maintenance medication to help manage it. They can also provide a referral to a rheumatologist who specializes in gout and will be able to help you manage your condition in the long-term.

  • Rheumatologists are specialists in inflammatory diseases and often treat arthritis, including gout, which is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. They can prescribe long-term medication to lower uric acid, medication to help you through a gout flare, and offer additional therapeutic options to lower uric acid levels. A rheumatologist can act as your long-term partner in the management of your disease.

Ready to start proactively managing your gout? GSGA’s appointment checklist can help guide the conversation with your doctor. And, don’t forget to join the Gout Support Group of America Facebook group, where you can ask questions and find a supportive community.