Gout is a health problem that can happen if you have high levels of something called ‘uric acid’ in your blood. This acid can cause you to get little crystals turning up in your joints which can cause symptoms like really bad pain, swelling, and redness. The most common joint to get gout in is your big toe.
If you think you’re at risk of getting gout, or if you want to check your levels of uric acid, you can buy one of our home blood test kits for gout, online.
|Uric acid test kit||1 test kit||£35.00|
Dispensing and standard delivery included.
Click & Collect: free (available for next-day collection in Alpha XR Pharmacies)
Next Day Delivery: £3.99
You can order a blood test kit for gout online from Alpha XR Online Doctor using these steps:
Fill out a short online questionnaire
Login or create an account
Place your order
Your order will be checked to make sure it’s right for you
It can then be posted to your preferred address or you can collect it from a local Post Office instead
You can also book a face-to-face appointment with your GP who will ask you about your symptoms and may order a blood test to check your uric acid levels.
Uric acid is a chemical found in your blood. It’s a leftover waste product from digesting food with something called ‘purine’ in it which you get in things like dried beans, sardines, some types of meat, and beer). Normal levels for men are usually 266-474 umol/L while for women they are usually 175-363 umol/L.
Normally uric acid doesn’t cause a problem and your body gets rid of it fine. But, sometimes uric acid levels in your body can build up over time.
High levels of uric acid in your blood can lead to crystals forming in your joints. These crystals can hurt the tissues around any of your joints they affect, leading to swelling and pain. When this happens, it’s called a ‘gout attack’ or acute gout.
Gout is actually a type of arthritis and it’s more common in men, but women can get it to, especially after the menopause. Gout in your big toe is the most common place to get it.
Testing to see if you’re at high risk of having gout attacks means taking a blood sample to test and see what your uric acid levels are. You can do this using a home test kit, or by visiting your GP.
If you have a high level of uric acid in your body, it means you’ve got a good chance of getting gout attacks in future. But, you can have high uric acid levels without getting gout attacks. So, if you’re having gout symptoms, and your test results show you have high uric acid levels, then you could have gout and you might need treatment.
If you’ve had any of the symptoms of gout listed below, you should think about taking a blood test to check your uric acid levels:
Very bad pain in one or more joints, especially your big toe joint
Warmth, redness, swelling, or tenderness around the joint
Problems moving the joint
Pain when walking or picking this up weight when it affects the joint
Keep in mind, you should wait until at least 4 weeks after having symptoms, or having what you think could have been a gout attack, before using a test kit. If you don’t, the results might not be accurate.
You can also do the test even if you have never had any symptoms, but want to know if you’re at risk of gout attacks in the future.
Using a home blood test kit, you can take the sample at any time of day.
Your test kit includes three lancets and a collection tube. To use your test kit, follow these instructions:
Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. You might find it more difficult to do the test if your hands are cold.
Dry your hands properly.
Use one of the swabs included in the kit to clean the fingertip that you want to use. It’s a good idea to use the middle or ring finger of the hand you don’t write with.
Wait until the finger feels dry before using the lancet.
Twist and remove the purple stick from one lancet, place it in the middle of your fingertip, and press down the purple button at the end.
A small drop of blood should start to form on your fingertip. Don’t worry if this doesn’t work the first time because you’ll have three lancets included with your kit.
Use a clean tissue to wipe the first drop of blood away, then point your finger downwards and massage the sides of your fingertip to get another drop of blood to come out.
Use your other hand to squeeze the fingertip and get a drop of blood into the collection tube. You should fill the tube to the upper line. If you can’t get enough blood to fill the tube, use the extra lancets on another finger and repeat the steps above.
Use the plaster included in the kit to cover your fingertip.
Put the lid on to the collection tube and twist the lid several times to shut tightly.
Write your details on the sticky label. This is an important step as our partner lab won’t be able to do your test otherwise. Place the labelled collection tube into the protective wallet, and then put the wallet into the prepaid envelope.
Post the sample to our lab
Your results will be ready in your account 2 to 3 days after your sample turns up at the lab, along with advice from a Alpha XR doctor.
If your blood test results show your uric acid levels are higher than normal, there’s a risk you could get gout attacks. If you’re already having painful symptoms in your joints, then high uric acid test results could tell you that it’s probably gout causing them.
Normally, you can use anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen to treat your gout attack, or other treatments like colchicine tablets. If it’s your first ever attack you should see your GP. For the best results, you should start taking medication as soon as you notice your gout symptoms. Plus, it can help to keep the joint lifted about the rest of your body and make sure you rest it – try not to use it if you can help it.
If your symptoms don’t get better after 3 to 4 days, your should arrange to see a doctor such as your GP for further advice and treatment. There are also long term medications like allopurinol which can help make gout attacks less likely.
To help you avoid future gout attacks, you could try making some of the following lifestyle changes:
Lose weight if you’re overweight, and eat a healthy balanced diet
Drink plenty of water daily, at least about 2 litres a day
Drink less alcohol and try to have at least 2 alcohol-free days a week
Get regular exercise
Cut down or quit smoking
Avoid gout triggers, like stress
Mayo Clinic (2019). Gout. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897 [accessed 20th June 2019].
National Health Service (2017). Gout. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gout/ [accessed 20th June 2019].
Patient.info (2017). Gout. [online] Available at: https://patient.info/foot-care/gout-leaflet#nav-2 [accessed 20th June 2019].