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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you about your medications, diet, alcohol use and about any family history of gout. Your doctor will examine you, and he or she will look at your painful joints and search your skin for tophi.

Your doctor may use a sterile needle to remove a sample of fluid from your inflamed joint. This joint fluid will be examined in a laboratory for microscopic uric acid crystals, which confirm the diagnosis of gouty arthritis. Your doctor also may order blood tests to measure the level of uric acid in your blood. Depending on your history and symptoms, you may need additional blood tests and urine tests to check how well your kidneys are working.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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