Gout and symptoms

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Gout generally occurs in four stages (asymptomatic, acute, intercritical and chronic) and has the following signs and symptoms:

In the asymptomatic stage, serum uric acid (SUA) levels rise but produce no symptoms.

In the acute stage, symptoms usually last five to 10 days and consist of:

•sudden attack of joint pain. When this occurs in the big toe, it is called "podagra".
•joints feel hot, tender and look dusKy red or bruised

The intercritical stage is a symptom-free interval between gout attacks. Most people have a second attack from six months to two years, while others are symptom-free for five to 10 years.

Finally, the chronic stage starts with:

•persistently painful joints with large uric acid (monosodium urate) deposits in the cartilage, joint capsule, tendons and soft tissues
•skin over the deposits ulcerates and releases a white chalky discharge consisting of monosodium urate crystals
•joint stiffness
•limited motion of affect joint

The chronic stage of gout may be confused with other arthritis conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Careful diagnostic evaluation by a rheumatologist is advised.

The diagnosis of gout is based on symptoms, blood tests showing elevated levels of uric acid, and the finding of urate crystals in joint fluid. In chronic gout, x-rays show characteristic damage to the cartilage and bones.

Recently, diagnostic ultrasound has been used to ehlp with diagnosis.

Currently, there is no cure for gout, but through proper diet, a healthy lifestyle and medications, the symptoms of gout can be relieved and further attacks eliminated.

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