Gout Diagnosis

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 20, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA on October 20, 2014

Diagnosis and Doctors for Gout

There are many forms of arthritis. Most types share common symptoms, including joint pain and inflammation. However, different types of arthritis require different types of treatment. What works for osteoarthritis may not help your gouty arthritis. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is essential.

Diagnosing Gout

Gout is usually diagnosed after an acute attack of gout symptoms. Many doctors will not make a positive diagnosis of gout until the patient has had at least two episodes of acute symptoms.

After a physical examination and medical history, your doctor may order tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Tests for Gout

Uric Acid Blood Test

The first step in diagnosing gout is usually a uric acid blood test. High uric acid levels are associated with gout. However, it’s important to note that you can have high uric acid levels and not have gout. In addition, blood uric acid may be normal during an acute attack. This test is a good starting point. It can be used to monitor your progress in lowering your uric acid level, but it’s not diagnostic by itself.

Joint Aspiration

A joint aspiration is usually the next step. This test involves removing a sample of the fluid from the affected joint and examining it under a microscope for urate crystals.

X-Rays

If you have persistent joint disease or tophi under the skin and your doctor suspects chronic gout, an X-ray may help with the diagnosis. This will show if there are lesions or permanent damage.

Doctors Who Treat Gout

Primary Care Physician

A primary care doctor is usually the doctor who treats gout. They can order uric acid blood tests, perform joint aspirations, and prescribe medications to treat the disease.

Rheumatologist

A rheumatologist is a physician with special training in treating diseases of the joints and connective tissues. A rheumatologist can provide more specialized care if your gout is especially severe or involves joint damage.

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Article Sources:

More on Healthline

13 Celebrities with Epilepsy
13 Celebrities with Epilepsy
Epilepsy has serious effects, but it can be controlled with treatment. Most people with epilepsy live long and normal lives, including these celebrities.
Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Learn how to discreetly carry your epinephrine autoinjectors safely and discreetly. It’s easier than you think to keep your shots on hand when you’re on the go.
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
The symptoms of RA are more than just joint pain and stiffness. Common symptoms include loss of feeling, muscle pain, and more. Learn more in this slideshow.
Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
There is not just one type of migraine. Chronic migraine is one subtype of migraine. Understand what sets these two conditions apart.
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Learn about some of the most common triggers for asthma, as well as measures you can take to minimize your risk of exposure, symptoms, and flares.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement