Do You Have Intense Joint Pain? You May Have Gout

If painful joints are keeping you up at night, call your doctor and then go to “Gout and Your Health” on kidney.org to learn what questions to ask your healthcare professional about it. The National Kidney Foundation is making it easy to help people understand how to take control of gout with this free, online tool.

Gout is a serious type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, most commonly in the big toe. People with gout often complain of severe pain, especially at night. It can be managed with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes, but it can also be an early sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and shouldn’t be ignored. CKD, if left untreated, can progress to kidney failure, dialysis, or even death.

Gout is most common in middle aged men and men over 65 years old. Chances of the disease in women increase after menopause. Gout is rare in children and young adults. Some of the risk factors for gout are diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, exposure to lead, hypothyroidism, kidney disease or a family history of gout. Certain drugs can also increase your risk for gout, so always let your healthcare team know what medications you take.

Gout can be hard to diagnose because symptoms are so similar to other conditions. You should see a doctor if you have severe pain in a joint with one of these other signs: swelling; tenderness; stiffness; redness.

“Gout is one of those conditions that can mimic several others and knowing specifically what you are dealing with can seriously assist the treatment and management of this condition,” said gout patient Andrea Thompson Adams. “After my diagnosis, I made a point of acquainting myself with gout, it's treatment and prevention,” Andrea said. “So, with medication, attention to my diet and exercise/movement, I manage to hold the gout at bay, the majority of the time.”

The tool starts with a quick and easy survey to help you assess your risk and guide you to the next steps based on the answers you provide. The tool is part of a new platform on the NKF website called “Kidney Pathways,” which helps people better understand kidney disease by providing individualized information curated from the vast library at NKF.

Based on the answers to the online survey you will be given a list of questions for your healthcare professional that range from basic talking points to much more complex inquires. The tool also gives you basic information about treatments, long-term effects of gout, and how the condition is diagnosed. Take the assessment today. It only takes a few minutes and it could save your life.

Begin here.