Is there a test for gout?

There is no one test for gout, and its symptoms are similar to several different conditions. To see if you have gout, your health care provider may: 

  • Ask you to provide your medical history, including:
    • Your symptoms.
    • Any other medical problems you have.
    • Any medications you are taking.
  • Examine the affected joints.
  • Order laboratory tests, take a sample of fluid from one of your painful joints, or order imaging tests.

How is gout treated?

Treatment may be different for each person. However, the goals for treating gout are the same for each person and include:

  • Reduce the pain from gout flares.
  • Prevent future flares.
  • Stop damage to your joints.
  • Care for other conditions or complications that happen with gout.

Your doctor may recommend:

  • Taking medications to manage the cause of your gout and treat active gout flares.
  • Making changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Who treats gout?

Health care providers who may provide treatment for gout include:

  • Rheumatologists, who specialize in arthritis and other diseases of the bones, joints, and muscles.
  • Dietitians, who can teach you about how to follow a healthy diet to improve your health.
  • Nurse educators, who specialize in helping people understand their overall condition and set up their treatment plans.
  • Pharmacists, who dispense medications and teach people about the medications, including the importance of taking them as prescribed.
  • Primary care providers (PCPs), such as internists, who specialize in the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults. Most people with gout are managed by their PCPs.

Living with gout

You can do many things to help manage gout, such as:

  • Losing weight, which helps reduce urate levels and can help stop or lower the number of flares you have if you are overweight or obese.
  • Making diet changes, such as: 
    • Drinking less alcohol, including nonalcoholic beer.
    • Avoiding drinks that have high-fructose corn syrup, such as soda.
    • Avoiding red meats and organ meats (liver, kidney, tongue, and sweetbreads).  
    • Avoiding seafood, such as shellfish (shrimp and lobster), sardines, and anchovies.
    • Eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as low-fat or fat-free dairy products, poultry, and oils.
  • Limiting foods high in saturated fats, as well as sugar-sweetened foods and drinks.
  • When you have a gout flare, you can help reduce symptoms from the flare by:
    • Putting ice on the affected area to help reduce swelling and pain.
    • Elevating the affected limb, if possible, to help reduce swelling.
    • Resting the affected joint.

Always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications.

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