How Long Does Gout Last?

Gout is a painful rheumatic disease that results from the deposits of needle-like uric acid crystals in the connective tissues in joints or within the joint fluid area found in between bones. The crystal deposits cause inflammatory arthritis that leads to swelling, redness, pain, heat and stiffness in joints. So when the body is unsuccessful in properly disposing uric acid, gout attacks often take place. But how long does gout last?

How long does Gout last for?

The lasting length of gout varies among people who treat it differently. Some would say it only lasts for 3 to 10 days. This, however, only describes the length of time of a gout attack. Gout attacks often materialize on big toe joints as sharp pain and swelling. These attacks also happen at the joints found in feet, ankles, hands, and wrists. The gout attacks are sadly just a part of the stages of development of gout and the 3 to 10-day period is but a small part when gout is left untreated.

4 Stages of a Gout attack

There are four stages by which a gouty arthritis may progress. Initially, the uric acid level in the body is elevated before any symptoms mentioned above can be observed. This stage is the first level called the asymptomatic hyperuricemia. It is in the second stage that the infamous gout attacks occur. The acute gouty arthritis involves deposits of uric acid crystals and symptoms such as redness, swelling and pain can already be observed. It is during this stage that sudden onset of intense pain occurs, usually at night and when triggered by stress, another illness, alcohol and/or drugs. These attacks usually last for 3 to 10 days and may not occur again for the next months or years.

However, when these attacks happen again, they tend to last longer with the interval getting shorter. The interval period between the acute attacks is the next stage known as interval or intercritical gout. Like any other interval, a person with gout does not appear to have any symptom and continues to do usual activities with a normal joint function. This gout-free feeling may turn into chronic tophaceous gout, the last and most disabling gout stage.

Chronic tophaceous gout usually develops over a long interval that lasts even up to 10 years. This stage means that a permanent damage has been done to the body, specifically the joints. Oftentimes, the damage also affects the kidneys. The good thing is, when proper treatment is applied, people with gout no longer reach this stage.

How to control a Gout attack?

To prevent gout from reaching this stage and from lasting for more years, uric acid level in the body must be monitored and kept at a low. Adjusting one’s diet by taking in less food responsible for high uric acid levels is a step in preventing more gout attacks. Another is by taking prescribed medication that aids in the decrease in uric acid level. With these, gout may be controlled and attacks may be prevented. The length of time that gout lasts simply varies and depends on the lifestyle and decisions of a person determined to keep it from continuing for a longer period.

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