Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that develops due to hyperuricemia i.e., higher levels of uric acid in the body, which is produced as a normal byproduct of metabolism. However, if its levels exceed the normal level for a prolonged time, the kidneys will be unable to excrete it. As a result of this, it will be deposited as urate crystals in joints, and this causes sudden bouts of pain. The purpose of this article is to discuss different stages of gout progression.
Stage 1: Hyperuricemia
The beginning stage of goutis asymptomatic hyperuricemia or uric acid buildup in the blood. This leads to the formation of urate crystals around joints in the body, but most often in the foot. Remember that uric acid is produced as a byproduct of the metabolism of the purines; it is found in all cells of the body as well as in certain types of food.
Chronic high levels of uric acid develop when the kidneys are unable to excrete uric acid, and some of the reasons are listed below:
- Kidney disease
- Taking diuretics
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Eating purine-rich food
- Underactive thyroid
- Family history
In this first stage, there are none of the typical gout symptomslike swollen joints, pain, etc.
Stage 2: Acute Gout
In the second stage of gout, you might experience unexpected attacks of gout symptomsin the night. These symptoms are pain, swelling in the affected joint, and redness. These occur more frequently in the big toe, ankles, or knee. That said, they can develop in other joints of the body. If you suspect that you are experiencing gout symptoms, then you must consult a rheumatologist or primary care doctor.
Stage 3: Intercritical Gout
After the first incidence of a gout flare, most people will have a second incidence within a year. But for some people, there will not be another attack for many years. This stage is common in almost all patients suffering from gout, and it is during this phase that patients start long-term treatment. Some of them are lowering uric acid levels through medicines and lifestyle changes; this can help with reducing long-term complications and prevent gout flare.
Stage 4: Chronic Gout
Stage 4 of gout is also called “tophaceous gout” and it is characterized by the formation of nodules “tophi”. This happens due to deposits of uric acid, and they can form anywhere in the body, but most often in the elbow or big toe.
These are the 4 different stages of gout,and we hope that the details shared above clarified your doubts about them.