Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by tenderness, severe pain and redness of the joints. Pain and inflammation in the joints are caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints. Gout attacks may occur suddenly and it mostly happens in the night.
Controlling the uric acid levels in the body by minimizing the consumption of foods that raise blood uric acid levels is an effective measure to reduce gout risk.
In this article, we focus on the diagnostic tests of gout.
Synovial Fluid Test
The test is well known for its accuracy. The test examines whether the synovial fluid, the fluid in your joints contains urate crystals. It does not take more than a few minutes. You will be given medicine to numb the area from where the sample will be collected. The medicine will be injected using a small needle and once the area becomes numb, the doctor will collect the fluid sample using a larger needle.
Uric Acid Blood Test
A blood test can be conducted to check the levels of uric acid in your blood. A high level of uric acid indicates that you either have gout or are under high chances of developing it.
3.5 to 7.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) is considered as the normal level of uric acid in the blood. When you have gout, doctors will usually recommend you to maintain the blood uric acid levels to less than 6 mg/dl.
The results of uric acid blood tests alone cannot be used to confirm the diagnosis of gout. It is possible that people with high uric acid levels in blood never have gout while some people with low blood uric acid levels may have gout. Doctors usually use the uric acid blood tests in combination with other tests to confirm whether you have gout or not.
Uric Acid Urine Test
Urine tests are also useful in checking the levels of uric acid in our body. The urine sample is taken over 24 hours and if a high level of uric acid is detected, it indicates the possibility of having gout.
For most people 250 to 750 mg uric acid in the urine is considered normal. Similar to uric acid blood test, uric acid urine test results alone cannot be used to confirm the diagnosis of gout.
In addition to the aforementioned tests, DECT scan, ultrasound and Joint X-ray tests are used in the diagnosis of gout. Early diagnosis is important to prevent the condition from worsening.