Symptoms and Causes
After years of untreated or undertreated early gout, the disease can progress to a stage with chronic, persistent joint complaints and deformities as well as the appearance of mass of uric acid crystals under the skin and around joints called tophi.
A patient with advanced gout should be under the care of a rheumatologist. When flares persist—even before the advanced stage—it is important to get a referral to a doctor who specializes in treating this disease. When gout is uncontrolled, patients can reach the Advanced Gout stage within 10 years.
The pain during a gout attack is often so excruciating that many go to an emergency room for relief.
On a pain scale of one to 10, most gout patients rank their pain as a nine or a 10. Many report that during an attack, the affected joint feels as if it is caught in a mechanical device. Even the thought of a bedsheet touching the joint is enough to make them cringe.
Gout attacks come on quickly and can last for several days. After a first attack, most people will experience another painful flare within a year. More than three in four gout sufferers will have another attack within two years. Subsequent attacks often are more severe and last longer.
Treatment is Necessary
Despite the severity of gout, just 10 percent of sufferers are getting needed, ongoing treatment.