Here’s what to intend at each allude in the disease, and also how to keep gout from getting worse in the first place.

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Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis the happens once levels of uric mountain — a regular byproduct the metabolic reactions in your body — end up being too high. As soon as levels that uric acid gain so high that your body can’t conveniently dissolve and also excrete it (via urine), uric mountain starts to crystallize. Uric acid crystals deposit themselves in the joints where they reason severe inflammation. The large toe is a famous site of gout attacks, but gout deserve to strike numerous different joints transparent the body.

Gout is just one of the oldest recorded diseases, with accounts dating ago to ancient Egypt. This extremely painful arthritis affects millions of U.S. Adults today just as that did in historic times, as described memorably through Dr. Cutting board Sydenham in the 17th century:

“The victim goes to bed and sleeps in great health. About two o’clock in the morning he is awakened through a serious pain in the great toe; much more rarely in the heel, fishing eye or instep…The pain, which was at an initial moderate, becomes much more intense…So exquisite and also lively meanwhile is the emotion of the part affected, that it cannot bear the weight of bedclothes no one the seasoned of a person walking in the room.”

Fortunately, this particular day gout is just one of the many treatable forms of arthritis — some rheumatologists speak it deserve to be cured. However for too many patients through gout, the condition goes untreated or undertreated. In one recent study, because that example, only 37 percent of world with gout were acquisition the uric acid-lowering medication allopurinol; amongst gout patients with frequent flares, only half were acquisition it.

Improperly treating gout can reason the condition to become more progressive. Over time, gout can start to affect an ext joints throughout the body and also cause troubles like gout tophi and also permanent bone damage.

Find out more here about how gout develops, exactly how gout progresses through various stages, and also how come treat gout to avoid symptoms, reduced uric mountain levels, and prevent permanent gout complications.

Stage 1: High Uric acid Levels

Also referred to as asymptomatic hyperuricemia, in this start stage the gout, uric acid is structure up in the blood and beginning to type crystals roughly joints, most often in the foot.

Uric mountain is developed when your body breaks under substances referred to as purines, i beg your pardon are produced in your body and can also be found in specific foods and also drinks. While eating high-purine foods can add to high uric mountain levels, numerous experts believe that the role of diet in the development of gout is over-emphasized. Chronically high level of uric acid take place when your kidneys no able to efficiently get rid that uric acid, which can happen for a number of reasons, including:

OverweightKidney diseaseTaking diureticsDrinking alcohol in excessDiabetesUnderactive thyroidGenes/family historyEating a high-purine diet

“In this first stage the gout, the person has no share pain, no red or swollen joints, simply an elevated uric mountain blood test,” claims Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, rheumatologist in ~ the Hospital because that Special surgical treatment in new York City. “This is the time that the uric acid, or urate, crystals are collecting in the joints and also can reason inflammation later on on.”

But high uric acid isn’t enough for a diagnosis the gout itself. “Most people with hyperuricemia never construct clinical gout,” states Alireza Meysami, MD, FACR, FACP, rheumatologist at the Henry Ford health System in Michigan.

Stage 2: Acute Gout

At this point, the sudden, unanticipated nighttime strike of gout symptoms could occur.

“This is when the person has pain, redness, and also swelling the a joint, most generally in the large toe, the foot, the fish eye or the knee, however gout deserve to start in various other joints together well,” claims Dr. Fields. “This is once the urate crystals space released right into the joint fluid and also cause an inflammatory reaction, happen in many white blood cells and also releasing inflammatory chemicals that cause the pain, redness, and swelling.”

If girlfriend think you’re enduring a gout attack, check out your primary treatment doctor or a rheumatologist to begin treatment for the disease. It’s necessary to view a doctor during a gout flare because your doctor might want to remove liquid from the influenced joint and also look at it under a microscope to check for the presence of uric mountain crystals. Identify uric mountain crystals in joint fluid helps check a gout diagnosis.

Stage 3: Intercritical Gout

After a an initial gout flare, 75 percent of people will have a second within a year; but some civilization can go years before an additional attack, states Dr. Fields. The in-between phase is “where a person has currently had a gout flare however is presently no having any kind of joint pain or swelling,” the says. “Almost all gout patients will certainly go with this phase, due to the fact that it is the nature of gout to have actually flares and then quiet under for a duration of time prior to the following flare.”

Even though it may seem like nothing is happening, this is the point in which patient should start long-term treatment. Lowering uric mountain levels v medication can prevent future gout flares and also long-term complications that go with them.

Stage 4: Chronic Gout

This stage is also called “tophaceous gout” since the uric mountain deposits can form nodules referred to as “tophi,” regularly at the bunion suggest of the huge toe or in ~ the elbow. But tophi can type anywhere in the body. “This stage is wherein a person deserve to have part joint pain native gout just around all the time,” Dr. Areas says. “It commonly takes numerous years of uncontrolled gout for someone to gain into this stage.”

During this stage, steady joint damages develops, therefore patients through gout need to be treated before this beginning happening. “Treatment delays can make gout worse,” Dr. Meysami says.

How to know If your Gout Is Progressing

As friend become an ext familiar through gout symptoms, friend may be able to sense that a gout assault is coming on. “Worsening of pain, swelling, redness, and also warmth of the influenced joint during the assault is the sign of progression of the attack,” Dr. Meysami says.

In addition, the disease overall might progress v “recurrent or an ext frequent gout assaults with longer duration, the joining of an ext joints, and the presence of tophi,” Dr. Meysami says.

If you have an ext than one gout flare a year, it’s really necessary to gain on a constant gout medication, states Dr. Fields.

What makes Gout gain Worse

Without treatment, gout will normally progress. In addition, details factors may cause gout flares. “Anything that makes urate levels go suddenly up or down can set off gout,” Dr. Fields says.


This may include eating foodstuffs high in purines, which get broken down right into urate, such together red meat and also shellfish. Foods high in fructose can likewise increase the body’s production of urate. Alcohol reduce the excretion of uric mountain in urine, which can cause uric acid levels to increase. Special, “beer no only has actually the result of alcohol on uric acid in the urine, but additionally has protein the breaks under to purine and then urate, for this reason it increases urate in 2 ways,” Dr. Fields says.

Although you might want to limit foods high in purines to protect against flares, both medical professionals we interviewed said that diet alone isn’t sufficient to manage gout. “Strict diet purine border is seldom recommended, together it lowers typical serum urate levels by only around 1 mg/dl, i beg your pardon isn’t sufficient for most patients,” Dr. Meysemi says.

Gout was once referred to as the “disease that kings,” yet it was misunderstood to it is in simply caused by rich food and drink. “Gout is a genetic disease — in which your body one of two people puts too lot urate right into the pee or renders too much urate — and also not a diet disease,” Dr. Fields says. “Watching your diet deserve to definitely aid with gout flares, yet to against a genetic propensity to gout you nearly always need medication.”

So if you an alert that details foods bring on gout symptoms, prevent them. “The consumption of alcoholic beverages or rich foods can create gout assaults in some patients, and the individual patient need to avoid triggers known to reason attacks,” Dr. Meysemi says.


However, one of the risk factors for gout is obesity. In fact, gout has become an ext prevalent recently possibly to because of rising levels of obesity. “Weight loss in someone that is obese will have a greater urate-lowering impact than a purine-free diet,” Dr. Meysemi says. To the end, a healthy and balanced diet and exercise can assist you lose weight and reduce your opportunities of an illness progression.

Stress and Injury

Emotional stress can additionally bring on a gout attack. So can physical trauma come the foot (such as can occur throughout running), which may release some crystals and cause an inflammation reaction.

“We don’t discourage civilization with gout from running or various other exercise,” Dr. Fields says. “But if someone has actually a gout flare in the foot, ankle, or knee, we indicate they continue to be off the foot as much as possible, due to the fact that further trauma to a joint v a gout flare can prolong the flare.”

Starting a therapy regimen can likewise unintentionally set off a flare; but other drugs can also be given to help mediate this risk.

How Gout therapy Prevents an illness Progression

Fortunately, in component because of its long history, gout is just one of the most well-understood and also most medically treatable forms of arthritis. “The progression of gout is preventable by beginning appropriate therapy as quickly as possible,” Dr. Meysami says. “Uric acid-lowering agents, such as allopurinol , have the right to decrease uric mountain levels and also prevent gout attacks.”

During flares, gout patients have the right to take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or corticosteroids to patience the attack. Regional steroid injections may also be given. A medication referred to as colchicine (Colcrys) is also often provided to prevent acute attacks, yet it’s offered now in ~ a much lower dose in stimulate to prevent side effects, including stomach upset.

After a flare ends, long-term treatment can begin. “Almost all civilization with gout will require medication to regulate their urate,” Dr. Areas says. “To acquire a great outcome, human being with gout need to gain their blood urate level below 6.0 mg/dl and also keep the there. By doing that, the human body will progressively pull the urate crystals out of their joints, and also the flares have the right to stop.” Tophi will also gradually disappear.

Medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors limit the lot of uric mountain your human body produces. These include allopurinol (Zyloprim and Aloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric). Colchicine, which decreases the inflammatory an answer to gout, may also be given along with allopurinol in ~ the start of permanent treatment ~ a flare subsides.

Another class of drugs dubbed uricosurics help your kidneys eliminate uric mountain from the body. These encompass probenecid (Probalan) and lesinurad (Zurampic). One infused drug referred to as pegloticase (Krystexxa) can aid the body get rid of uric mountain in civilization whose gout hasn’t to be well regulated with other medication. Brand-new medications, consisting of a biologic currently FDA-approved for rheumatoid arthritis, room on the horizon because that gout treatment as well.

Your medical professional will testimonial your medical background for any kind of contraindications for gout medications. You might be command to prevent taking diuretics (water pills), together these can contribute to uric mountain buildup.

In enhancement to weight loss, diet, and also physical exercise, speak to her doctor around any other residence remedies for gout — yet you’ll virtually always need meds as well. For example, “cherry juice might slightly lower urate level but in basic is not advised , because if someone is having actually trouble with gout they have to be top top a medicine such together allopurinol, i beg your pardon is much much more potent,” Dr. Areas says.

Can Gout it is in Cured?

“‘Cure’ is a very solid word, but we can absolutely treat the gout and put that in remission by giving the therapy as mentioned,” Dr. Meysami says.

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Whether to use the word “cure” may be a issue of semantics: A patient’s gout tendency may never go away however can be well-controlled. “Treatments for gout are incredibly good, and the vast majority of gout patients can expect to be ‘cured,’” Dr. Fields says. “‘Cured’ is in quotes due to the fact that it method that gout flares can fully disappear, yet the human would must stay on their medicine.”

Gout progression, though, definitely isn’t inevitable, which is close to the best news any type of gout patient deserve to hear.