Gout is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis that causes intense pain, redness, warmth and swelling in one or more joints. It occurs in people who have high levels of uric acid in the blood, causing needle-like crystals in a joint. Genetics, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease are risk factors for gout. Certain medications may also raise uric acid levels.
In the early stages of gout, you won’t experience symptoms. However, high uric acid levels are already forming crystals in the joint. In this stage, an event triggers acute gout, also known as a gout attack. Attacks usually become less intense after a few days and most end in seven to ten days. The majority of people with gout have additional attacks within three years.
Unfortunately, gout doesn’t go away when the pain is gone. Left untreated, gout can become chronic and attacks more frequent, potentially resulting in joint damage. That’s why it’s important to seek medical treatment for gout.