What Are The Stages Of Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by excess uric acid in the blood. There are four stages of gout.
Stage 1: Asymptomatic hyperuricemia
- This is the first stage, where uric acid begins to build up in the blood.
- At this point, there are no symptoms.
- Usually this stage is not detected.
- However, joint damage may be occurring.
- This stage usually lasts several years, and may or may not progress to Stage 2, depending on the individual.
- This stage does not usually require treatment.
Stage 2: Acute gout attack
In the second stage, uric acid crystals have deposited in the joints, causing enough damage that a painful attack occurs. General characteristics of a gout attack:
- Sudden, unbearable pain, usually in the big toe
- Often the attack will occur at night
- Redness and swelling around the affected joint
- May last for days or weeks
Treatment is definitely necessary at this point. Contact your health practitioner immediately. Some methods of treatment that might be suggested:
- Soak the affected area in warm water
- Avoid purine-rich foods and alcohol
- Drink plenty of fluids
- NEVER take aspirin for gout pain
- NEVER begin a prescription gout medication during an attack
Stage 3: Intercritical gout
- During this stage, you will not experience gout pain. Do not be fooled! The gout has not gone away. You must get treatment for gout during this stage in order to prevent future attacks.
- Follow your health practitioner's treatment advice. At this point, it might be ok to start a prescription drug. However, these drugs often have negative side effects.
- You may wish to treat your gout naturally.
Stage 4: Chronic tophaceous gout
- This stage of gout takes about 10 years to develop.
- In this stage, permanent damage to the joints and even kidneys has occurred.
- This type of gout is very painful and disabling.
- Most patients do not progress to stage 4 if they seek treatment and take proper precautions.
Preventing gout is much more effective than curing it. If you have known risk factors for gout, such as hypertension, genetic predisposition, or diabetes, you should take the proper precautions to ensure you don't develop gout. Some methods for preventing the development of gout:
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid overindulgence in purine rich foods. Don't drink too much alcohol. Make sure your diet has enough fruits and vegetables. If you have hypertension, follow a low-sodium diet.
- Lose weight, safely and naturally. Do not try a crash diet or starvation, as these methods can cause a spike in blood uric acid levels.
- Stay hydrated. Drink 64 oz of water every day. This prevents buildup of uric acid in the blood.
- Analyze your medications. Some medications may be linked to gout. Discuss your medications with your health practitioner. Do not stop taking a medication without their permission.
- Get some exercise! Exercise helps keep your circulatory system healthy. Robust circulation can prevent a buildup of uric acid in the joints.