Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 8:43 EDT

May 22 is Gout Awareness Day: New gout recommendations highlight lifestyle changes as a key to managing acute gout symptoms

May 22, 2012

PITTSBURGH, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — New recommendations from the American Society of Clinical Rheumatologists (ASCR), published in Postgraduate Medicine[1], highlight updated management recommendations for patients with acute gout. These new recommendations come at a time when the incidence of gout is soaring; 8.3 million Americans are estimated to be gout patients[2].

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Gout, a form of arthritis, is caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in body. Uric acid crystals can form in the joints when there are abnormally high levels of uric acid in the body. Gout is not only the most prevalent form of inflammatory arthritis, but also the most painful. Patients affected by gout flares have described the pain as akin to having the affected joint caught in a piece of machinery.

Gout is often tricky to diagnose because the symptoms of gout mimic those of several other conditions.

Gout & Uric Acid Education Society has produced four informational videos that follow the ASCR recommendations for diagnosing and managing gout. These recommendations put a greater emphasis on nonpharmacological options to help gout patients. A balanced diet, healthy lifestyle and weight maintenance are some of the most important tenants of controlling the disease and helping medications work to their fullest extent.

“The new guidelines help patients by simplifying the steps they can take to manage their condition,” said N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Florida, and Chairman and CEO of the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society. “Gout is a life-long disease which requires constant treatment and attention, but it can be controlled through a commitment to weight loss, lifestyle changes and taking medications as directed.”

Instead of challenging, restrictive dieting, patients are encouraged to consume a balanced diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts and grains. More importantly, patients should limit their intake of high fructose corn syrup, a common ingredient in many processed foods and drinks, and purine-rich foods, particularly red meat, beer and shellfish.

“Gout Awareness Day is an opportunity for medical professionals to focus attention on this disease that affects so many, yet has little understanding by the public,” said Dr. Edwards.

Managing other conditions is extremely important in gout patients. Making changes to diet and lifestyle may not be enough for patients who also have health risks such as hypertension, obesity and smoking.

Joan McTigue, MS, PA-C, and board member of the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society said, “Some patients do not realize the correlation between gout and their other conditions, but many studies have shown that cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and more can increase their likelihood of being diagnosed with gout.”

For more information about Gout Awareness Day and educational resources for patients and medical professionals, visit www.gouteducation.org. The new information videos, as well free patient brochures and fliers, are available to download from the website.

About the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society

Formed in September 2005, the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society has a comprehensive patient education brochure, as well as a user-friendly website for patients, caregivers, family members and healthcare providers. For more information about gout and the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, please visit. Follow @GoutEducation on Twitter or “like” Gout Education on Facebook.

Gout Awareness Day 2012 is sponsored by Ardea Biosciences, Savient Pharmaceuticals, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America and URL Pharmaceuticals.

For more information about Gout Awareness Day, contact Bernadette Chepega at (412) 456-4306 or bernadette.chepega@eurorscg.com.

NOTE: Content does not reflect the views, opinions or commercial interests of Gout & Uric Acid Education Society sponsors.

[1] Hamburger, MD, Max, Herbert S.B. Baraf, MD, and Thomas C. Adamson III, MD, FACP, CPE, et al. “2011 Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Management of Gout and Hyperuricemia.” Postgraduate Medicine 123.6 (2011).

[2] According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2008

SOURCE Gout & Uric Acid Education Society

Source: PR Newswire