Mapping out a plan: learn the role and importance of uric acid levels in gout management

Carolina Coast Online—February 24, 2010

Imagine being confined to bed for days at a time because you can't walk or you are having difficulty resting your elbow on your desk. No one can foresee exactly when a gout attack might occur -- it could be the morning of an important work presentation, the day of your son's wedding or your granddaughter's dance recital.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for many of the approximately 5 million Americans who live with gout -- and experiencing an attack means that elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, called hyperuricemia, promoted formation of uric acid crystals, causing this painful episode.

"The pain associated with gout attacks can be debilitating and can leave patients fearful of the next attack," says Dr. Theodore Fields, Fellow of the American College of Physicians and director of Rheumatology Faculty Practice Plan, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York. "Many patients only go to the doctor when they have an attack and don't realize that with the appropriate management plan, they can aim to lower uric acid levels and keep them in a target range, which can reduce the risk of future gout attacks over time."

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