Gout is a very serious health problem, with 84% of gout patients requiring continuous treatment, but new research from the SOURCE Gout Education Society shows that few people take the necessary steps to avoid complications.
A study by the American College of Rheumatology found that two-thirds of gout patients have not tested uric acid levels in the past six months. In addition, although only half of gout patients indicated that their uric acid levels reached the recommended 6.0 mg/dl or more. Low, but only one-third of people take uric acid-lowering drugs, and nearly two-thirds think they can stop taking these drugs.
“Elevated uric acid in the body is the root cause of gout, so it’s critical for anyone with gout to take steps to ensure that levels are at a healthy 6.0 mg/dL or below,” said N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, MACP, MACR, chairman of the Gout Education Society. “In most cases, daily uric acid-lowering medications are needed to keep levels low and flares at bay—and these medications need to be taken even after flares are under control. Not taking this step can put gout patients at risk for increased flares and damage, plus other serious health complications—ranging from diabetes, to kidney disease, to heart attack and stroke.”
In addition to non-adherence by many gout patients, two-thirds (68%) admitted to not eliminating or reducing foods known to trigger gout flares, and over half (57%) admitted that they aren’t maintaining a healthy body weight.
Gout Is Widely Misunderstood
According to the survey, many Americans—and even those with gout—don’t fully understand the disease or its risk factors.
- Seven in 10 do not know that gout is a form of arthritis.
- Four in 10 don’t know that the disease can affect both men and women.
- Half of Americans falsely believe that gout only affects the feet and/or toes.
Few Americans also understand the risk factors for gout, including elevated uric acid levels (51% don’t know); family history (45% don’t know); and obesity (61% don’t know). Additionally, even fewer Americans associate gout with other serious health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease/kidney health issues.
“This reinforces a tremendous need to provide ongoing education about gout and the consequences of not seeking prompt and ongoing treatment,” added Dr. Edwards.
Additional information and gout resources—including a new medical professional locator—are available, free-of-charge, at GoutEducation.org.
About the Gout Education Society
The Gout Education Society (formerly The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in September 2005 by rheumatologists. The Gout Education Society is dedicated to educating the public and health care community about gout—the most common form of inflammatory arthritis—and helping to improve overall patient care.
SOURCE Gout Education Society