What is Gout?
Gout is a rheumatic disease caused by hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels) resulting from overproduction or under excretion of urate in the body. Gout occurs when uric acid, a waste product in the body, crystallizes and is deposited in joints or soft tissues. When uric acid crystals accumulate in joints, they trigger inflammation, leading to pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. Common symptoms of gout include intense pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and inflammation of the involved joints.
There are four stages of gout:
Asymptomatic tissue deposition
Asymptomatic tissue deposition is hyperuricemia without apparent symptoms of gout. Acute flares occur when there is inflammation caused by urate crystals in the joints. It typically starts at the joints of the big toe in 50% of the people with gout. Intercritical segments is the period when acute flares subside and before the next flare-up. This stage becomes shorter as the disease progresses. Finally, chronic gout is when the disease has progressed to chronic arthritis and tophi (uric acid are deposit in the soft tissues) are present.
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