The first of today’s short gout questions is graph uric acid level.
It seems a strange question. Graph uric acid level against what? A particular gout treatment? A particular gout diet? Let me explain uric acid levels in general terms, then you can interpret your data against particular aspects of your own gout treatment or lifestyle.
The most important thing about uric acid level graphs is that they will fluctuate. Uric acid levels rise and fall throughout the day, and from day to day. The graph shows a typical uric acid profile – up and down, but if you are managing your gout properly, the average trend should be downward, bottoming at 5mg/dL.
Even then, you are not getting the full picture from a uric acid test. You only measure the amount that is dissolved in blood. Other uric acid that has crystallized in your body goes unmeasured. In fact, uric acid levels from a blood test often fall during a gout attack as uric acid has moved from your blood into your joints or under your skin as tophi.
Bear those factors in mind when you interpret your own results. Then you can assess how much benefit you are getting from a particular gout treatment or a change in your gout diet.
If you are using your doctor’s results, you should discuss them and ask for explanations of any significant changes. More importantly you should ask for advice about how you can keep uric acid levels below 6mg/dL. At this level, you will gradually get rid of any uric acid crystals in your body, and stop forming new ones – the nearest thing to a complete cure for gout.
If you are using results from your own home uric acid meter, as I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, try to test at the same time each day, and make note of any significant diet or treatment changes.
Remember, once you have had gout, even if you get uric acid levels back down, you need to monitor your uric acid levels at least twice a year to ensure they are not creeping up again. Anything over 7 mg/dL is dangerous. Best to take action at 6.4 mg/dL – the level below which uric acid crystals do not usually form.
If you have more questions about uric acid meters please ask below.