Getting Gout Under Control

One attack of gout is more than enough for anyone. Once you’ve had your first attack, studies show there’s a 60 percent chance you’ll be hit with another one within a year and an 84 percent chance it will happen within three years. A small group of people may never have a second attack, but if you’ve had one, you’re likely to have another.

That’s why it’s important for you to take steps to tackle gout. Working together with your health care team, you can work on the proactive moves that will help you bring gout under control.

After you recover from your first attack, your focus should be on taking steps that will help you avoid future attacks. Ask about lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your uric acid level. A healthier lifestyle can help prevent future attacks.

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Doctors may prescribe a daily uric acid-lowering medication to patients experiencing recurrent attacks. If that’s the case for you, a combination of lifestyle changes and medication makes good sense. Even if you’ve had gout for a while it’s important to ensure you fully understand how your treatment works, and why you should stick to it.

Uric Acid-Lowering (UAL) Medication

Taking medication to lower blood levels of uric acid is key to reducing crystals in the joints. This will help to prevent recurrent gout attacks. If you have recurring attacks of gout in a year, your doctor may recommend a prescription uric acid-lowering drug. In some cases, doctors prescribe medication after a first attack. Your doctor will wait until after you’ve recovered from your most recent attack before starting uric acid-lowering therapy. Starting treatment during an attack can make it worse or prolong it.

Preventing Attacks When Starting Uric Acid-Lowering Medication

Once the gout attack is over, your doctor may prescribe a uric acid-lowering medication to prevent future attacks. Starting this medication can be challenging, because as the blood levels of uric acid levels start to lower, the crystals in the joint start shifting, and that can trigger an attack. Your doctor can help prevent attacks by prescribing an anti-inflammatory medicine for six months to a year, until everything is more stable.

It seems crazy, but the better job the medicine is doing, the more likely you are to get an attack. This can scare some people away from starting this treatment or cause them to give up. But don’t you give up! Sticking with it will be worth it in the long run. Getting stable on one of these medicines is, for many people, the key to tackling gout.

Lifestyle Management

Although they shouldn’t be your only line of defense, lifestyle measures are an important part of preventing recurrent attacks of gout. Learn more about healthy eating to reduce risk of gout attacks, exercise and tips for reaching a healthy weight.