Complications of Gout

Gout, while painful and unbearable is a manageable disease that can be prevented or treated. Many people who experience one gout attack usually never have a second one. Others develop chronic gout, or endure recurring attacks that happen more often over time. Properly treated gout rarely causes long-term health problems, but if left untreated it can lead to more severe and even life threatening complications.

Treating your gout is a priority when it comes to your health, if you think you are suffering or are at risk for gout take the Gout Test to determine your level of severity and receive a personalized treatment plan for your condition. Additionally, be sure to talk to a doctor if you have any other concerns regarding gout or the complications it can cause.

Think You Have Gout?

Take a short gout quiz to find out your levels of gout. This short 3 minute quiz will tell you if your gout is mild, moderate or severe, and what you can do for your situation.

Start the test.

  • Poor Sleep
  • Gout attacks commonly occur at night and can disrupt your sleep. The continued pain can prevent you from falling back asleep and can interfere with your rem cycles. Poor sleep can lead to a variety of issues including stress, fatigue, mood swings, and a poor immune system.

  • Disability
  • The inflammation from a gout attack can not only be painful, but it can even cause the swelling and enlargement of your joints to hinder your mobility and movement. Since gout commonly attacks joints such as the big toe, ankle or the knees, patients often struggle with walking or performing day-to-day activities to the pain and lack of movement available by the joint. Additionally, repeated gout attacks can cause permanent joint damage that can cause disability.

  • Tophi
  • Tophi is caused by the deposits of uric acid crystals that form under the skin in cases of chronic gout. The crystals build up under the skin and form small white or yellow lumps. While painless they can form in inconvenient places, such as the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and ears. As tophi continue to accumulate, they can cause damage to the surrounding skin and tissues of the joints, eventually causing permanent joint damage.

  • Joint Damage and Deformity
  • In the case of untreated gout, the frequency of attacks can dramatically increase. A combination of the recurring inflammation, growth of tophi and the stress on the joint can lead to persistent damage in the joint tissues. Eventually, joints can move out of alignment or even be rendered immobile.

  • Kidney Stones
  • The uric acid crystals that cause gout also contribution to the formation of stones in the kidneys. Theses kidney stones are painful and if left to accumulate can interfere with the kidneys' ability to properly function.

  • Kidney Disease
  • High uric acid levels put a significant strain on the kidneys, causing them to function poorly or completely inhibit their ability to function at all. When the kidney has a buildup of uric acid crystals and other harmful compounds, it can lead to disease and eventually kidney failure.

  • Heart Disease
  • Heart disease is often linked to gout due to the patients commonly having high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

  • Other Conditions
  • Other conditions that are associated with gout, but are often rare include:

    • Cataracts; the clouding of eyes that can impair vision
    • Dry eye syndrome; the lack of tear production in eyes that can cause irritation, damage to the eye and impair vision
    • Uric Acid crystals in the lungs; the presence of uric acid crystals can impair lung function and can lead to complications that include poor breathing and poor oxygen circulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gout a complication of diabetes?

Those who suffer from type II diabetes are likely to develop gout or experience a gout attack due to an unhealthy life style.

Complications of acute gout?

When acute gout occurs, it only affects one joint and has less frequency than chronic gout. The complications of acute gout include:

  • Joint pain and lack of mobility
  • Poor sleep

Acute gout should be addressed immediately to prevent future flare-ups.

What are long-term complications of gout?

The accumulation of the complications listed above can lead to advanced gout and can increase your risk of kidney or heart failure. Additionally, recurring or chronic gout can have a significant effect on your quality of life.