Gout is a very painful form of arthritis. Gout occurs when there is an abundance of uric acid built up in the body. When there is a buildup of Uric acid in the body it can lead to things such as sharp uric acid crystals in the joints throughout the body especially in the big toes, other deposits of uric acid, which are called, tophi, that look very similar to lumps underneath the skin, and the formation of kidney stones which is a result from a buildup of uric acids in the kidneys.
For the majority of people that have the unfortunate occurrence to get gout it most often strikes in the area of the big toe. Many times the gout attack can be severe and very painful as it often awakens one from sleep when the attack occurs. The big toe which is inflicted with gout is extremely sensitive and sore and often times warm and swollen.
Gout can be broken down into four main stages:
1. Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia is the first stage of gout in which you will not feel any symptoms but gout is starting to form. In stage one the uric acid levels are higher and it needs to be taken care of so that the uric acid does not precipitate out of blood and then become crystallized in kidneys or the joints.
2. The second stage of gout is acute gout or acute gouty arthritis. It is at stage two when gout starts to do damage to the body. High levels of uric acid make it so it is impossible for the blood to keep it in a form that is dissolved and it begins to crystallize and then be deposited in joint spaces. This is when pain and swelling then occurs. Attacks generally happen in the evening and if not treated can last for weeks at a time. If not treated still the attacks become more severe and last for longer periods of time.
3. The third stage of gout is Intercritical gout as this is the time when an attack of gout has subsided. In stage three there are no symptoms but it is because the body's immune system is stabilizing itself for more attacks on the uric acid crystals which form because of the high concentration of blood. If the person afflicted with gout does not get treatment by stage three the disease can be hard to control.
4. The fourth and final stage of gout is chronic gout which is the worst and most destructive stage of the disease. By stage four the gout has caused permanent damage to the joints and in some cases the kidneys as well. At stage four the affiliated joint can become deteriorated and cause extreme pain which can be crippling. In extreme cases the kidney can lose its functions which can lead to kidney failure and death.
Gout is a disease like many others which builds upon itself if not treated at the beginning stages. By seeing the symptoms early and being checked by a physician you can reduce the chances of gout reaching the latter stages.