PITTSBURGH, Jan. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Extremely painful and destructive, gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis with elevated serum uric acid (sUA) a root cause of the disease. Even with the growing incidence of gout, recent research from the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES) found that just 16 percent of Americans overall know the target sUA number for gout (6 mg/dL or below) – and just 38 percent of people with gout had their sUA levels checked within the past six months, the timeframe recommended by the American College of Rheumatology. Additionally, the majority of gout sufferers don't understand the importance of taking daily uric acid-lowering medications, with four in 10 incorrectly believing that they can stop taking medications when they aren't experiencing flares.
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Seeking to increase recognition of the severity of gout and need for routine sUA testing and management, GUAES hosted a professional roundtable discussion on October 3, 2015. The roundtable brought together several experts – rheumatologists, a family care physician, and representatives from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the National Kidney Foundation and CreakyJoints – to explore how to more effectively educate about gout and improve access to public education and treatment.
"Today's average gout patient will see multiple health professionals – not just for the treatment of gout, but oftentimes for connected health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease or diabetes. This can result in conflicting education messages and treatment recommendations," said N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, rheumatologist and GUAES chairman. "We view this roundtable discussion as the first of many steps toward raising public awareness about the importance of knowing the target sUA number and taking action to keep levels in a healthy range, as well as an opportunity to encourage all medical professionals and organizations touched by gout to provide uniform and consistent messaging to patients."
During the roundtable, participants focused on two main areas:
- Elevating sUA Management: Participants reviewed the urgent need to raise public awareness about the importance of ongoing treatment and sUA testing as a standard panel to assess risk and monitor disease progression. Participants also discussed public education messages and resources that could help to make routine sUA testing top-of-mind.
- Elevating the Overall Impact of Gout: Participants reviewed the severity of gout and hyperuricemia (elevated uric acid levels), including the link between gout and other health conditions. Participants addressed the need to disseminate messages through various medical professionals and organizations to promote a greater knowledge of the full and severe impact of gout.
Resulting discussions and strategies are overviewed in a consensus paper – Encouraging Patients to "Go for 6": Elevating the Severity of Gout and Improving Access to Public Education and Treatment – which is available through the professional portal of GoutEducation.org.
The paper is authored by the following medical professionals and organization representatives.
- N. Lawrence Edwards, MD, MACP, MACR – Rheumatologist and Chairman, Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (Moderator)
- Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH – Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
- Laurie Ferguson, PhD – Vice President of Education, CreakyJoints
- David J. Hoelting, MD – Past-President, Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians; Chief of Staff, Pender Community Hospital
- Richard J. Johnson, MD – Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver
- Brian F. Mandell, MD, PhD, FACR, MACP – Professor and Chairman of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Center for Vasculitis Care and Research; Editor-in-Chief, Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine
- Tom Manley – Senior Program Director, Scientific Activities, National Kidney Foundation
- Donna Tomky, MSN, ANP-BC, CDE, CDTC, FAADE – Past-President, American Association of Diabetes Educators
About GUAES & "Go for 6"
The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society is a nonprofit organization of health care professionals dedicated to educating the public and health care community about gout – the most common form of inflammatory arthritis – and the related consequences of hyperuricemia. The society's "Go for 6" public education campaign encourages those with gout to get their uric acid levels checked every six months, and aim for a healthy target of 6 mg/dL or below to avoid future flares and long-term damage. Additional information and resources are available at GoutEducation.org. Twitter: @GoutEducation Facebook: Gout Education
SOURCE The Gout & Uric Acid Education Society