One in 10 people with kidney disease has gout, and an even higher percentage of people with gout have kidney disease. To learn more about the connection between kidney disease and gout, visit the American Kidney Fund's Goutful campaign at KidneyFund.org/gout. Goutful education content is made possible by Horizon Therapeutics. Below is a letter patient Ellery P. wrote detailing his experiences living with gout and kidney failure.
Dear fellow advocates and those living with kidney failure,
I woke up one morning feeling as if my foot was on fire. At the time, I was working part-time as a server, preparing for the birth of my son. Since the pain had never happened before, I just chalked it up to hitting my toe at some point and assumed I just didn't remember, although my toe area was red and inflamed. It went away after four to five days, but returned again the next month or so. I couldn't put on a sock, shoe or have anything really touch that side of my foot area. I mentioned it to a friend who ran down a few things, and gout was one of them. But I couldn't have gout. To my understanding gout was something that only older people talked about.
To make a really long story short, this went on for the next year or two. Some instances were worse than others, but I fought through it with the help of doctors helping me manage it with pain meds. I found out that my kidneys were failing in 1999, and then began the ups and downs of dealing with the nephrologists, blood work, biopsies and eventually going on dialysis. I just happened to have a doctor's appointment during one of the pain episodes. My doctor mentioned that I was having gout-like symptoms, because my kidneys weren't cleaning out all the "dirty" things that normally functioning kidneys typically would. So, as it turns out, this was an additional warning to me that I didn't know about, telling me that there was something more seriously wrong with my health. True to form, after I received my first transplant in March 2003, the gout symptoms went away.
While I did have a second transplant in 2012, and while I was on dialysis again from January 2011 to July 2012, the gout reappeared several times.
I'm happy that I haven't really dealt with any real gout symptoms. I do take Allopurinol to help combat those symptoms also.
The message in my short story is: spread awareness of advocating for your health. Don't let the signs go, thinking that it'll just go away. In many instances, your body is trying to tell you something. Listen, ask your health providers and be engaged so that you can catch these things early on to prevent further danger to your health.
Thank you, Ellery P.