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Talking to Your Doctor About Gout
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with gout. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms suggest that I have gout?
- Could these symptoms be caused by any other joint diseases?
- What kinds of tests will I need to have a firm diagnosis?
I’ve had one gout attack:
- What are the chances of my having another?
- What can I do to avoid having another?
About Treatment Options
- When can I expect to feel improvement from the treatment?
- Will I have to take medications to control my gout for the rest of my life?
- What side effects can occur from taking medications for gout?
- Will these medications interfere with any other medications, supplements, or over the counter drugs I am already taking?
- Are there any complementary or alternative therapies I should consider?
About Lifestyle Changes
- What lifestyle changes will help control my gout?
- How does my diet affect my gout?
- Do I have to avoid all foods containing purines?
- If my gout is under control, can I drink alcohol at all?
- What possible long-term complications may occur from gout?
- If I keep my gout under good control, what are the chances that I can avoid long-term complications from the disorder?
- Do I have to keep taking medications if lifestyle changes work for me?
Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases%5FAnd%5FConditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/gout%5Fff.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Pittman JR, Bross MH. Diagnosis and management of gout. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1799-1806.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015
- Update Date: 03/15/2015