Epidemiology, symptoms, diagnostics and treatment of gout


Emilija Šabatina1

1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania



Gout is one of the most prevalent inflammatory rheumatic disease. Gout is a severe, often debilitating inflammatory arthritis caused by deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joint space, periarticular structures and soft tissues, producing a pronounced inflammatory response in the patient experienced as pain. The general prevalence of gout is 1-4%. of the general population. In western countries, the disease occurs in 3-6% in men and 1-2% in women. In some countries, the prevalence may increase up to 10%. Worldwide, the incidence of gout is increasing due to poor eating habits such as fast food intake, lack of physical activity, increased incidence of obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Hyperuricemia is the most common and well-studied risk factor for developing gout. Another very important risk factor is diet consisting of red meat, seafood; drinking beverages sweetened with fructose or consuming alcohol increase levels of uric acid and may lead to developing gout. A medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests and radiography or ultrasound may be used for diagnosing gout. Diagnosis may be confirmed by identification of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals in synovial fluid of the affected joint. Acute gout attacks are characterized by a rapid onset of pain in the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked tenderness. Most commonly gout affects the big toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint), while the remaining cases typically affect other joints in the foot as well as the knee, elbow and hand. For every patient that has gout doctor should explaine that gout is chronic illness which manifests in acute inflammation episodes. Allopurinol is a widely used urate – lowering therapy (ULT) in patients with gout and hyperuricemia. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia is not considered a disease, and treatment has not been indicated.

Keywords: gout, hyperuricemia, gout flare, deposits of uric acid, treatment, allopurinol, gout flare.