May 26, 2008

Diagnosis of Gout

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Gout is a disease in which the uric acid level of the body increases and because of it starts depositing in the joints. It is deposited in the form of crystals and after some time when large deposits gather on in the joints they start creating the symptoms of gout. Several complications as well can arise and therefore early diagnosis of gout is very important.

There are several tests available, which can be used for the diagnosis of gout. They are described below.

One of the different methods is light microscopy. This is the test in which a sample of the fluid from the affected joint. Using this test, the crystals of the uric acid salts are detected in case gout is present. However, this is not successful in all the cases especially during the initial stages. The polarized microscopy is used as the better option for detecting the crystals of uric acid. The crystals are easily detected by the polarized light and therefore this is more perfect method.

Alternatively, the chemical tests to check the uric acid level in the blood also are used. if the uric acid level is greater than 420 μmol/L for males and 380 μmol/L for females is considered to be abnormal. If the uric acid levels are above these levels then there are fair chances of occurrence of gout.

However, high levels do not compulsorily mean that the person is facing gout. Therefore, this is not a sure method for diagnosis of gout. Moreover, it is generally observed that in almost 2/3 of the cases of gout have their urate levels, within the limits. Nevertheless, the serum level test is usually done after an attack of gout to get at least some idea of presence of gout.

In addition to testing the urate level, different testing the other aspects of the blood samples is useful for diagnosis of gout. They actually do not detect gout itself but they are useful for ruling out the chances of septic arthritis or other causes of arthritis. The aspects as the blood count of different constituents, and electrolytes are tested. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate, test is one such common test. Thyroid function tests also are useful.

The kidneys are the main parts of the body, which are associated with the function of removing uric acid from the body. Therefore, they too are affected by gout and hence the diagnosis of gout will can be done by renal function tests.