Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
The definitive diagnosis of gout is usually made when your doctor takes a sample of joint fluid and sees gout (urate) crystals under the microscope. (Click here if you'd like more information about how joint fluid is obtained; then return here to continue). The diagnosis does not absolutely require a sample of joint fluid, however. Sometimes, the diagnosis can be made based on your symptoms alone. For example, if you have repeated episodes of severe first toe pain and swelling that get better over days, it is very likely that you have gout. You cannot make the diagnosis of gout from a blood test, even though most persons with gout have a high blood uric acid level. Other ways to make the diagnosis include x-rays or microscopic analysis of a lump of crystals (called tophi), which may complicate more severe forms of the condition.
Click on the appropriate link below to learn more about how the severity of gout is assessed, to learn more about how your particular symptoms might be treated, or to quit.