Nearly all people with gout (84%) agree that it’s a very serious health issue that requires ongoing treatment and management—yet despite this, new research from the Gout Education Society reveals that very few are taking the steps needed to avoid future flares and other serious, long-term health complications.
Gout Patients Aren’t Getting the Treatment They Need
According to the survey, two-thirds of gout patients have not had their uric acid levels checked within the past six months, as recommended by the American College of Rheumatology. Additionally, while just half of gout sufferers say their uric acid level is at the recommended 6.0 mg/dL or below, only one in three is taking uric acid-lowering medications, as prescribed—and nearly two in three incorrectly believe they can stop taking these medications if they aren’t having flares.
“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.
SOURCE Gout Education Society