This is a medical condition where the joints in the body are inflamed by what is known as acute inflammatory arthritis. The main cause of this disease is an increase in the level of uric acid in the blood system. The uric acid forms crystals which are in turn deposited in joints, surrounding tissue and tendons. A diagnosis can only be made when there is presence of the crystals in the joint fluid. Over the recent years, the condition has been noted to be on the increase especially among those living in the West. Risk factors that are on the increase are believed to be behind the increase of the disease. These risk factors include metabolic syndrome, changes in the diet and an increased life expectancy rate. Historically, gout was called “the rich man’s disease”. Gout is a type of arthritis and is considered to be one of the most painful.
Gout is known to progress through four stages. The first stage is asymptomatic gout where there is an increased level of uric acid in the blood stream but there are no symptoms. The second stage is acute gouty arthritis where crystals of uric acid are deposited into the joints. Symptoms of gout may be experienced at this stage. The third stage is interval gout where there is an interval between the gout attacks and normal functioning of the joints. The fourth and final stage is chronic tophaceous gout where the gout has progressed and damage to the joint has occurred. The damage could be permanent and kidney damage may also occur at this stage. However, with proper treatment, this stage can be avoided.