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Gout Scout is a gout attack management app for people who live with gout (Gout Warriors).

 

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How to tell when a gout attack is happening

Gout attacks can start anytime in the day or night. Some gout community members have said that they’ve woken up in the middle of the night with severe pain around a joint. Others have seen their “flare ups” develop throughout the day. Gout doesn’t have a time preference for when it shows up to ruin your day.

As well as turning up when it wants, gout doesn’t naturally give you much notice of when it will start to attack.

This can be a problem when you’ve got something planned, like a wedding, and you know that you need be in a healthy condition, e.g. to walk down the aisle. Having some advanced warning of when an attack could start would be helpful for many sufferers. Knowing an attack is coming could in theory help them try to prevent it from starting or from being as painful or as long as it would otherwise be. At the very least, it could enable them to make the necessary preparations to encourage a quick and comfortable recovery.

Fortunately, many sufferers have paid close attention to their bodies and have noticed some warning signs.

In this blog post, we share some of the common signs that a gout attack is about to start.

1. Itching on the affected joint​

Many people with gout noticed that their joints that were attacked felt very itchy around 24 hours before the flare up started. Whilst this could be a good sign that a gout attack is about to start, it only gives you around 24 hours to do something about it, which isn’t a lot of time.

Our founder Randal also gets “the itch” before an attack. When he gets this itch, he drinks more water than usual, keeps the affected joint still on the following day, and makes arrangements to work from home/limit movement.

2. Stiffness in the affected joint

As gout is a type of arthritis, it’s common to get some sort of stiffness in your joints at some point. Some gout community members have mentioned that they get noticeable stiffness in the joint that gets attacked about a week before it happens. Again, for these people, it triggers them to act before the presumed flare up starts in an attempt to prevent it from happening at all. This includes reducing their high purine food intake, drinking more water, and more.

3. Redness, tingling, and swelling in the affected joint​

gout

If you’ve reached this stage then you’re likely at the very start of a gout attack or just before one. This is a very common sign of a gout attack occurring, confirmed by many medical journals and gout community members. At this stage, it’s all about making yourself as comfortable as possible, getting help where you can, and managing the pain until it passes.

Many sufferers have different ways of dealing with the pain but if you get worried, it’s best to speak with your doctor, GP, or rheumatologist for advice.

4. Increase uric acid levels​

As you may already know, gout attacks occur when your body is unable to effectively get rid of purines, which leads to increased levels of uric acid in your blood. Whilst doctors often send you to get a uric acid blood test to confirm whether or not your symptoms are in fact gout, the tests tend to be few and far between (to see if medication has helped reduced your acid levels for example).

Some gout sufferers use home uric acid tests and check their uric acid levels more frequently to see if it’s elevated to the point that could indicate a flare up is likely to happen. This isn’t an officially recommended course of action but it’s interesting to see the results that some people with gout have had when measuring their uric acid more regularly.

We hope this information helps you understand some of the common potential warning signs of an upcoming gout attack. We’ll keep this blog post up to date as we learn more from gout sufferers and the latest gout research.

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