What is the difference between acute and chronic gout?
- Usually only 1-3 joints are affected.
- You will only feel symptoms during attacks.
- Attacks may last from a few days to a week.
- After attacks, you will not feel symptoms.
- You may start by having acute gout but worsen to chronic gout over time if attacks happen more often.
- Chronic gout is having 2 or more gout attacks per year.
- Often more than one joint is affected.
- Some people with severe chronic gout have only short breaks in between attacks and feel symptoms of gout most of the time.
- Chronic gout can lead to permanent joint stiffness, damage, and deformity.
What causes gout?
Gout is caused by having too much uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is made when your body breaks down chemicals called purines. Purines are found naturally in your body, and can also be found in certain foods.
When you have gout, your body either makes too much uric acid, or cannot get rid of it well enough. When uric acid builds up in the fluid around your joints, tiny crystals called urate crystals can form. Urate crystals cause gout symptoms, including pain and swelling.
There are several things that can increase your risk of having gout. Kidney disease is one of the leading causes of gout.
Who is at risk for gout?
Anyone can get gout, but it is more common in men than in women. Gout is more common in adults than in children. Learn more about the risks for gout.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Although many people have their first gout attack in one of their big toes, gout attacks can also happen in other joints. Learn more about symptoms of gout.
How can I manage gout attacks?
Gout attacks, also called flares, or flare-ups, can come on suddenly and be extremely painful. Learn how to manage your gout attacks.
Why do gout attacks happen more at night?
Gout attacks happen more at night and in the early morning rather than during the day. You may have an attack start during your sleep. The reasons this happens are not entirely known, but some of the leading ideas are dehydration, lower body temperature, and changes in hormone levels during sleep.
Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent gout attacks during your sleep.
What are the complications of gout?
Gout causes more than pain. Gout, especially chronic gout, can lead to serious medical problems over time if left unchecked. Learn more about the complications of gout.
How does gout affect mental health?
Living with the pain of gout can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. If you have gout, you are more likely to develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.
This is because gout can interfere with your daily life and your ability to:
Gout may also impact your sleep if you have flares in the middle of the night. This missed sleep can lead to:
Treatment for your gout can also help to alleviate disruptions in your sleep and daily activities which may help to alleviate impacts of gout on your overall wellbeing.
The good news is that you are not alone. There are people and resources to help you cope in healthy ways. For example, social workers can teach you ways to manage challenges in your life and connect you with resources in your community.
Learn more about mental health and kidney disease and where to go for mental health help.
What are the tests for gout?
If you think you might have gout, it is important to get tested and diagnosed by a doctor, so that you can get the treatment you need. Learn about the tests for gout.
What are the treatments for gout?
Taking too many medicines or taking certain medicines at the same time can be dangerous, so it is very important to talk to your doctor about how many medicines you can take. Learn about the medicines available to treat gout.
Is gout preventable?
Gout is usually not preventable through lifestyle changes alone. Many people with gout need medicines to get their gout under control. Learn more about preventing gout.
What is the best diet for gout?
Certain foods and drinks are better than others for controlling gout. Learn more about foods and drinks to avoid when you have gout.
Gout and kidney disease
Most commonly, kidney disease can cause gout. However, gout may also lead to kidney disease. Since uric acid is filtered through the kidneys, the two diseases are related. Learn more about gout and kidney disease.