Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Gout can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are often similar to those of other conditions. If gout is suspected, tests may include:
Arthrocentesis (Joint Aspiration)
—A needle is inserted into a joint and fluid is withdrawn with a syringe. This is usually performed using local anesthesia. The fluid is then checked under a microscope for uric acid crystals and signs of inflammation. In nearly all cases of gout, uric acid crystals are present.
Blood and Urine Tests
—These tests assess kidney function and measure the amount of uric acid in your blood and urine. However, uric acid levels can often be normal during a gout attack. Other blood tests check for white blood cell count and sedimentation rate.
—X-rays may be performed to check for signs of joint damage, which may be present in recurrent cases of gout.
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
The Merck Manual of Medical Information.
17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
Last reviewed September 2011 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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