Gout attacks can be stressful for you and the people around you. If you are having a gout attack for the first time it is important that you see your healthcare provider – don't wait to have a second attack before getting advice.
The information below is aimed at people who are living with gout. Following the steps below will help you to avoid gout attacks.
Step 1: Take your uric acid medicine every day
Keep your uric acid down by taking your uric acid medicine every day even if you feel well. If you stop taking it your uric acid levels will increase very quickly and you will get a painful gout attack. Each gout attack damages your joints. Read more about the different types of uric acid medicines.
Step 2: Get your uric acid checked regularly
Once you've started taking your long term uric acid medicine, it can take a few months for your uric acid to come down. You will need to get your uric acid levels checked every month until you reach your uric acid goal.
Once your uric acid levels are down below 0.36 mmol/L the uric acid crystals in your joints gradually dissolve, and you won't get gout attacks.
If you have tophi your goal is to keep your uric acid levels below 0.30 mmol/l. Once you have reached your uric acid goal, get your uric acid levels checked every 6–12 months to make sure your levels are staying down. You might need to have your dose of uric acid medicine increased.
Step 3: Know what to do if you have a gout attack
- Have a supply of pain medicine to treat a gout attack if you get one.
- If you feel a gout attack starting, take your pain medicine soon as possible to stop it getting worse.
- Raise and cool the affected joints.
- Rest and take a sick day.
- Know when to see a healthcare professional so they can check that you are on the best treatment for your gout. See your doctor or nurse if:
- your pain is getting worse
- you feel hot and shivery
- you also feel sick and can't eat.
Step 4: Talk to whānau and friends
Talk to your friends and whānau about your gout and tell them how it affects you. That way, if gout attacks are causing you stress and upset, you will find it easier to let them know and reach out for help when you need it.
Step 5: Kai
Only 10% of high uric acid is caused by food and drink. This means that you don't need to stop enjoying the kai that you eat once you get your uric levels down.