Gout (Gouty Arthritis) (cont.)

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What complications are associated with gout?

Longstanding untreated gout can cause irreversible joint damage.

Uric acid can deposit in the kidneys and cause kidney stones and decreased kidney function.

Uric acid can deposit in the soft tissues, especially around joints, and cause nodules known as tophi, which can be large and unsightly.

What is the prognosis of gout?

Gout is a chronic condition. Left untreated, patients may suffer from recurrent painful and disabling gout attacks. Joint damage and other complications of gout may occur. However, excellent treatments for gout are available, and most patients respond very well to gout treatment with a good prognosis.

Is it possible to prevent gout?

Some of the risk factors for gout are genetic, and those are not preventable. However, many of the risk factors for gout, such as obesity and diet, are controllable. Maintaining a healthy weight and a diet low in refined carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and red meat may prevent gout.

What research is being done on gout?

Research is being done on using medications that block a chemical signal known as interleukin-1 to treat gout flares in patients who do not respond to other therapies. Anakinra (Kineret) and canakinumab (Ilaris) are two medications that block interleukin-1. They are currently used for other conditions and are under investigation for use in gout flare-ups.

There is ongoing research in using a specialized CT scan known as a dual energy CT scan to diagnose gout. There is also a great deal of research investigating the various uric acid transporter genes that are responsible for uric acid metabolism.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery


Firestein, G.S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier, 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2015

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