Most gout attacks go away on their own within several weeks, even without treatment. A gout attack usually occurs when something triggers an increase in uric acid levels or a change in the joint's crystals. Acute gout pain is worse for the first 8 to 12 hours. If left untreated, gout can cause symptoms that last 10 to 14 days on average.
Complications of untreated gout include chronic pain and permanent joint damage. If you have repeated gout attacks, see a doctor to prevent chronic gout. The gout may come back every few months, or it may take years. It may come back more often if left untreated.
Gout can be extremely painful and disabling, but it is extremely treatable in almost all patients. It is important to identify and treat it in time to avoid pain and complications. Gout is a major foot problem, but it can also affect many other joints. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden and intense bouts of pain, but thankfully, a proper diet can alleviate your symptoms.
Still, it's estimated that 9 out of 10 people with gout will eventually have a gout attack on their big toe, most likely due to the pressure they experience when walking and standing. While 50% of all first gout attacks occur on the big toe, gout can occur in many other joints, including the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles. For this reason, I think the vast majority of people with gout could use exploring traditional options for gout first and then choosing their options. In fact, the hereditary form of gout usually affects men younger than 30, and this form of gout tends to be serious.
It is also important that patients with gout be carefully counseled to report any changes in the frequency of gout attacks to their doctor. The inflammation that is part of a gout attack is systemic, so fever and chills, fatigue and discomfort aren't usually part of a gout attack. A set of criteria has been established to help make the diagnosis of gout in this setting (see Table 1: Diagnosing gout when crystal identification is not possible). A key differentiator between gout and other types of arthritis is that gout attacks occur abruptly, often over the course of a day, without warning.
The prosperous and overweight bourgeois with gout is a classic 19th century European image, but in reality gout affects people from all economic classes. While rheumatologists like me specialize in the advanced treatment of gout, primary care providers can help you prevent or control gout. While alcohol can cause gout attacks, genetics are much more important than alcohol in defining who gets it, and many people who never drink alcohol suffer from gout. However, no matter how important diet is in gout, for most people with gout, diet, and even weight loss, are not enough, and medications will be needed to reach their uric acid goal.
Since gout attacks are usually quite painful and often make walking difficult, most patients with gout will request specific treatment for their painful condition.