Stages of Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that comes about as a result of the buildup of uric acid levels in the body and the subsequent crystallization that occurs, usually at a particular joint on the feet, such as the big toe.

Since the process is gradual, actual gout manifests itself in a number of stages, starting off by giving a few subtle telltales signs, and if left untreated, eventually reaching the painful and temporarily crippling stages that it is feared for. These are commonly divided into four distinct stages, each one progressing to the other during a lengthily period of time.

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The Subtle Stage

This entire stage, known as asymptomatic gout, is marked by the buildup of uric acid, slowly but surely setting the stage to make its appearance in more dramatic ways. The cause of this buildup could be as a result of a bad diet or kidneys that don’t do a good enough job of processing the chemical as well as they should.

Since this process is slow and internal, it goes undetected in most cases, almost guaranteeing that it will progress to the next stage. This is a shame as treating gout at this stage, when it is easiest, would mean that the eventual suffering and pain experienced at later stages can be avoided.

Full Manifestation

Acute gout, the second of the four stages, is what all the building up accumulates to and the victim of this unnatural process is made fully aware of what has been going on the insides of his body as the physical manifestation starts to take place.

This occurrence of gout on any joint of the lower limbs, but mostly the toes, is caused by the acid coming together to form crystals. These cause enough damage around them that the joint swells up and stiffens, all sending a flurry of signals to the brain which is interpreted as pain.

Once this stage has begun, it only goes away after a few weeks, but that in now ways means that it’s too late for treatment. The first 12 to 24 hours of a gout attack are the most intense and this usually serves as a call to action, forcing one to seek medical help as soon as possible, as well as starting off on the many home remedies that work to alleviate the pain and inflammation. There is also a chance you could reduce the amount of time the pain lasts if this stage is managed well.

Hibernation

After the gout attack has passed, and medical assistance to the issue has provided, the more visible symptoms will disappear, but that doesn’t mean the entire issue does as well.

Just as in the first stage, there are inner workings that cannot be seen or felt which eventually lead to the painful symptoms experienced in stage two, so taking steps to counter them before they strike can reduce a lot of suffering. There are enough preventative steps that can be taken to ensure that the problem does not aggravate.

The Long One

Finally, if left untreated, gout can reappear after several years in a much stronger and permanently damaging way. Chronic gout is when this form of arthritis has pretty much crystallized into a long-lasting occurrence marked by episodes of aching and stiffness in the joints.

This stage of gout can leave the affected joint irreversibly damaged. Unfortunately, and part of why it is important treatment is done early, the effects of gout can extend beyond the affected joint and affect your kidneys by crystallizing there and creating kidney stones.

There are certain methods that can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of this stage but by the time gout is chronic one should be prepared, both in resources and mentally, for the long run.

Summary

What all this adds up to – the sum of all four stages – is that gout is a potentially damaging form of arthritis that is best treated as early as possible. One should be always vigilant when it comes to unusual signs given off by the body and it is no different with arthritis.

Fortunately, there are guided steps available for all stages that help make what could potentially be an unbearable illness more bearable. Anyone who suffers from gout can easily follow these steps and be able to manage their lives normally.

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