Long-Term Health

Acute attacks of gout usually clear up in a week to 10 days. It can be tempting to think that once the pain is gone, so is the problem. Unfortunately, only a small number of people never have a second attack. To help prevent attacks and the progression of gout, it’s important to take steps to tackle it.

The Progression of Gout

Untreated gout, or gouty arthritis, is very likely to cause repeated attacks that get worse and more frequent over time. Sixty percent of people who have an attack of gout will experience a second attack within a year. Eventually, occasional attacks of acute gout can turn into chronic gout. What used to hurt for a week to 10 days can become a milder but constant pain, with progressive joint damage and potential loss of function and lower quality of life.

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Long-term Health Risks

Tackling gout is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. That’s because the recurrent inflammation and pain of chronic gout can result in:

Joint damage: That’s also what happens in uncontrolled rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of inflammatory arthritis, and it can affect mobility and function, which are keys to quality of life.

Disfiguring lumps: Some people with gout develop painless but disfiguring lumps of crystals (formed from excess uric acid) called tophi under the skin.

In addition, gout has been associated with serious health risks like high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Remember: every step you take to tackle gout today is a step towards preventing chronic gout.

Managing Your Health Long-Term

Getting and sticking with a good management plan (one that includes both lifestyle changes and medication) is essential to avoiding later stages of gout.

If you’ve experienced intense joint pain that might have been a gout attack, see your doctor. Don’t wait for the next attack. Make an appointment now.

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An examination and lab tests can help determine whether or not you have gout. If you do, work with your doctor to get a plan in place. Talk about the anti-inflammatory medication you’ll need to keep on hand in case of another attack, as well as how to lower your uric acid level, because a high level of uric acid is the underlying cause of gout.

Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and daily medication. Set a schedule to get your uric acid blood level tested at regular intervals. It’s important for you and your doctor to know if, over time, your levels are going down and if you’ve reached the target level. Also find out what your long-term health risks of health problems that are associated with gout might be – especially your heart and high blood pressure risks – and ask what you can do to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Take control of your gout!