Gout is a condition the general public knows little about. More importantly, people affected by gout often rely on information found online, which can lead them to make unhealthy or unnecessary changes to their nutritional regime. This is because much of the information available on the Internet is inaccurate. On top of that, gout patients are often bombarded with contradictory advice about managing their condition. Looking to resolve these issues, researchers from Keele University and the University of Oxford have collaborated on a study that provided material for a new gout information portal.
The online resource, which represents a section on Healthtalkonline.org, went live last week, Arthritis Research UK reported. The driving force behind this project was the aim to improve gout management and quality of life for patients. One of the most important things about the new resource is that it draws on the experience of people living with the condition. Besides providing patients with practical advice and specialist information, the support portal will also try to change perceptions about the disease: at present, many women and young people experience shame or discomfort when diagnosed with gout because it is linked with older men in the public mind.
The researchers provided the materials by interviewing 43 gout patients in England, Scotland and Wales. These people talked about their struggle with the pain, their feelings when diagnosed and their treatment choices. The conversations have been uploaded as video or audio clips alongside medical information and practical tips. Dr Edward Roddy of Keele University expressed hope that the new resource would prove useful both for the public and the medical community. Its objective is to raise awareness about the difficulty of living with gout, to present the options for treatment and to debunk widespread myths abut the condition, Roddy said.