I am mindful that gout sufferers do not get the help they deserve.

I never understood it until I spent over 5 years learning what the right treatment should be, then fighting successive doctors until I found one that listened, understood, and helped me fix my gout.

I seriously believe that the only way to manage gout is through a good relationship with a doctor who understands gout. But what do you do if you do not have that relationship, or cannot find that doctor?

That is the essence of my gout support services. I seek ways to help you build that relationship with simple basic facts. I realize that gout that is complicated with other diseases or intolerance to gout medications is always going to be challenging. For that, you must consult a rheumatologist who has experience with similar cases.

But “common or garden” gout is very easy to manage. Keep uric acid at 5mg/dL (0.30mmol/L), or below. For the first few months, have a combination pain treatment package that ensures pain-free mobility.

There are choices of treatment, and some people might be able to achieve the target uric acid level through lifestyle changes – but you still have to monitor uric acid levels to make sure. An annual blood test for uric acid is the absolute minimum requirement – but how many doctors insist on it?

I run GoutPal as a voluntary gout support service to help people work with their doctors to fix their gout. It costs money to provide this service, but with the help of some advertising revenue, a few commissions from Amazon.com, eBay, Walmart etc, and some very kind and generous donations, we get by. Personally, especially as my wife recently lost her job, I struggle to balance running GoutPal with other pressures to earn money.

Today, I was reminded that people in pain want answers quickly, and I am disappointed that I cannot be available as often as I would like.

I believe there may be a solution to this, though I am unsure anyone will be interested. I have always been reluctant to charge for GoutPal support services, as I have never felt that I had sufficient expertise to justify this. However, I have now realize how well I control my own gout, and how much I help other gout sufferers.

This gout forum will always be free, and open to everyone. If anyone is interested in a more responsive service, I am thinking of offering two paid services:

1. Basic – priority response through these forums with minimum standards policy. I guarantee a maximum response time of 12 hours, with an average response time of 6 hours. The cost is ?10 per month, or $100 per year.

2. Advanced – As above except times reduced to maximum 4 hours, average two hours. Will also include my phone number for voice and text support. Cost is $50 per month or ?500 per year. Limited to 10 people.

Any interest? Any opinions?