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.

Peter thinks it is important to be optimistic about living with gout and learn along the way. It is possible to manage it and carry on normally with life.

Age at interview 63

Gender Male

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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.

John says gout is easily managed, and most people won’t need to make any major changes to their diet.

Age at interview 43

Gender Male

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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.

Eric says it’s reassuring to know that attacks of gout come and go. It’s not a permanent pain.

Age at interview 87

Gender Male

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Don’t be afraid of medication. It can be a lot better than having gout.

Carole says being diagnosed is not the end of the world. She does not like taking tablets, but now wishes she had started daily preventative medication sooner.

Age at interview 64

Gender Female

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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.

Jeff says be persistent and tell your doctor what you want to know about treatments.

Gender Male

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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.

Harry says try and get used to the idea that gout is unlikely to go away permanently, and that it may get worse. Ongoing treatment can prevent any long-term damage or problems.

Age at interview 78

Gender Male

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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.

Gerald says living with gout might be difficult, but there are people out there who want to help.

Age at interview 67

Gender Male

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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‘).