Here’s my thoughts on uric acid meters, off-the-cuff.
First, consider reasons for uric acid tests. Initially, they are diagnostic. Is the result over 5mg/dL? Then, gout is the most likely diagnosis, so start treatment.
Uric acid lowering treatment always works best when you have a plan. It does not need to be elaborate, but it needs to cover:
1. Long term target – less than 5mg/dL, unless there are confounding factors.
2. Short term target – doctors are never trained in this. So, only the ones who can think for themselves give valid responses. It’s OK to consider this each time you have a uric acid test. But, the key point is that there is a period of time when you are getting rid of old uric acid crystals (debulking period). It is the worst-managed medical phenomenon I have ever encountered. The short form of that rant is “For first six months of uric acid lowering, get uric acid level as low as possible”.
3. Pain control during the debulking period.
So, now we have a setting where uric acid tests are needed to monitor and adjust the treatment plan. So, I can answer:
Regarding a blood level monitor: are there any comparison tests out there as to which monitors are more accurate? Also, what is the general opinion about how often do you use the device. Every day? Every week? Every month?
Uric acid test monitor comparison
To my knowledge, there are no such comparisons. The innards of uric acid test kits are very similar. But, it’s a product, and so it needs product support. Therefore, do research on the company before you buy. Or, give me names of the ones you are considering buying, and I’ll research them for you.
Uric acid test frequency
The reason I wrote about uric acid lowering plans because testing frequency is governed by the plan. And, my usual advice is: if you are using prescription meds of any kind, leave testing to your doctor. Because, it’s vital to monitor liver and kidney function when you are taking gout medicine. I also believe those tests are vital if you are taking herbal gout medicine.
But, if you are self-treating with lifestyle changes, a uric acid meter can be useful. But, only if you make testing an integral part of your plan.
I wasted a lot of time with daily testing when I used my meter. But, at that time, I didn’t understand gout properly. Like you, Steve, I didn’t understand gout triggers. I cannot conceive of a uric acid treatment plan that would benefit from daily testing. Surely, weekly is the minimum intervention time? However, there is another science principle that says more data makes analysis more reliable. So, you can consider that.
My best advice is:
Uric acid test every month for the first six months. Then, increase frequency depending on stability of results. Always test at least once per year, for the rest of your life.
But, you need a good uric acid treatment plan for that to make sense. For most gout sufferers, it’s best to leave uric acid testing to your doctor.