Gout is a type of arthritis that is associated with intense pain symptoms as well as swelling and stiffness in joints and the type of inflammatory arthritis mostly affects men. Gout is caused by the high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream that is deposited in the joints as crystals. Even though multiple factors including genetics could increase gout risk, food habits that increase the uric acid levels in body could lead to increased risk of gout.
Gout progresses through various stages and each stage is referred to as a type of gout. Here is a brief discussion about various stages of gout.
Elevated uric acid levels do not necessarily mean that gout symptoms will show in the individual. The stage of gout associated high uric acid levels without any perceivable symptoms is called asymptomatic hyperuricemia, and even though the urate crystal deposit might cause slight joint damage, no treatment is required at this stage.
People at this stage of gout should regulate the diet to keep the uric acid levels under control.
In this stage of gout, sudden deposit of uric acid crystals in joints cause intense pain due to acute inflammation, which is often referred to as gout flare that subsides within 3 to 10 days. Cold weather, stressful events and drug as well as alcohol abuse act as triggers of gout flares.
The period between attacks of acute doubt is referred to as intercritical gout. Gout flares may not occur for months and years but if not treated, the flare frequency might increase. During the interval period, urate crystals are further deposited in tissues that could lead to worse gout symptoms in future.
Chronic Tophaceous Gout
It is the most severe type of gout that could cause permanent damage to kidneys and joints. The patient can develop visibly large lumps of urate crystals called tophi in the cooler areas of the body like finger joints or suffer from chronic arthritis.
This is a condition that is mistakenly assumed as gout due its symptoms that are quite similar to that of gout. But the condition is not exactly gout and requires treatment methods different from gout. In gout, urate crystals affect the joints whereas calcium pyrophosphate crystals affect the joints of people suffering from pseudogout.
The stage of gout determines whether a person requires gout medication or not, and in all of the gout stages, watching your diet by avoiding foods that raise uric acid levels has supreme importance.