Jeff was diagnosed with gout 36 years ago. He has had attacks in his ankles, toes, wrists and elbow, and manages them by taking naproxen. Jeff feels that he has learnt to live with gout. He has had three attacks in the last 12 months.
Jeff’s gout was diagnosed 36 years ago when he went to see his GP because he had an extremely painful foot. Jeff’s father had been diagnosed with arthritis, which was attributed to his occupation as a golf professional, and so Jeff assumed that his own pain was probably also due to arthritis.
Jeff’s GP did a blood test and told Jeff that he had gout. They also discussed the possibility that, although it was never diagnosed, it was likely Jeff’s father had also had gout. Jeff’s GP prescribed allopurinol tablets. Following Jeff’s diagnosis, his wife did some research about gout, and contacted the Gout Association who provided a list of foods to avoid. Jeff and his wife changed their diet in line with the guidance from the Gout Association.
About six years after Jeff’s diagnosis, he returned home from working abroad and began to experience loss of sensation in his feet and legs. He was admitted to hospital for investigations and was told to stop taking all his usual medications, including allopurinol. No diagnosis was made, but his symptoms eventually disappeared. Jeff’s uric acid levels were checked and found to be within the normal range, so Jeff decided not to start taking allopurinol again to see how he managed without it.
Jeff has had attacks of gout in his ankles, toes, wrists and elbow. Before Jeff retired he sometimes had to have time off work because of gout attacks. When he has an attack in his foot he cannot put a sock on. At times he has gone to bed with a box over his foot to stop the sheet from touching his skin. Attacks also prevent Jeff from playing golf.
Five years ago Jeff developed a tophus on his big toe so his GP referred him to the hospital for the tophus to be removed. Jeff’s GP prescribed diclofenac for him to take when he had an attack, but two years ago Jeff had a heart attack. He read in a magazine that diclofenac was not recommended for people with heart problems. Jeff discussed this with his GP, who told him not to take diclofenac again, and instead prescribed naproxen for Jeff to take when he has an attack.
Jeff believes that eating pulses has sometimes triggered an attack of gout for him. He has also noticed that if he puts a lot of stress on his joints, for example by bending or crouching during DIY work, he often seems to get an attack of gout. He thinks that a major injury to his elbow 30 years ago makes it more likely for him to get gout attacks in that elbow.
Jeff feels that he has learnt to live with gout. He believes that he now recognises the signs of attack starting and takes action more quickly. Jeff also makes sure that he takes naproxen tablets with him if he goes on holiday in case he gets an attack while he is away. He has had about three attacks in the last 12 months.