4 Stages of Gout: Which stage are you in?
Medical professionals have broken down the development of gout in four stages, how the disease can evolve over time. First stage is what they call Asymptomatic Gout the stage where somebody develops hyperuricemia which is higher uric acid levels in the blood, the body becomes increasingly acidic but no symptoms are present. At this stage, uric acid crystallizes and silently accumulates in the joint. Treatment is not required at this stage and no medication is required but if you do find out by taking a blood test, that you do suffer from hyperuricemia, a change in your diet should take place immediately.
Second stage is the very first gout attack. What they call Acute Gout or Acute Gouty Arthritis. Yes your first time comes to a shock and is excruciatingly painful causing severe inflammation and severe pain in the joint. Before that night where you got your gout attack, you consumed something like seafood, organ meat, had too many Cokes or a night of drinking that raised your uric acid levels which triggered your gout attack. Even stress or the presence of another illness can cause it too! The pain will escalate over the next 8 to 12 hours making walking very difficult. Generally, this gout attack will be in the big toe area and will feel like a broken foot. The inflamed area will be reddish and you can experience a slight fever or even chills. You should find some relief after three days but symptoms can hang around up to 10 days and sometimes even longer. These attacks can then become more severe and prolonged if nothing is done about them. The next acute attack can take months or more than a year to reoccur. Over time, however, attacks can last longer and occur more frequently.
Disease progression of gout
Next up is the third stage, what they call Intercritical Gout or Interval Gout which is the period of time in between gout attacks where you feel no symptoms and your joints function properly. Life is great and you feel great but everything is just an illusion! For most gout sufferers, uric acid in the blood remains high and the crystals remain in the joint. The truth is gout hasn’t gone away and the low levels of inflammation between attacks may be causing you joint damage even if you do not feel any symptoms or pain. In addition, a low level of inflammation could be associated with the risk of developing heart disease or even a stroke! These delayed attacks can be far more threatening than the initial attack and will move to different joint areas such as the Achilles area. It is essential to seek proper medical treatment for the disease and change your lifestyle through proper diet and exercise to avoid and/or prevent any future gout attacks.
Finally, we end it with the final and fourth stage, what they call Chronic Gout or Chronic Tophaceous Gout which is the stage you definitely want to avoid at all costs. At this stage gout becomes disabling and occurs after many years of suffering that can be associated with irreversible damage to the affected joints, damage to your kidneys and even death! Over time gout attacks become longer and more frequent. This is the worst and most destructive stage due to the fact that you can develop tophi causing the destruction of the affected bone and cartilage to occur. This stage usually occurs after 10 years if the disease hasn’t been treated properly and no lifestyle changes were implemented. With proper treatment most gout sufferers do not progress to this stage and thank goodness for that! It is critical that you treat gout in the earlier stages.
Posted by Spiro Koulouris
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