What Are Gout Attacks?
Gout usually attacks a single joint suddenly and intensely.
Gouty joints show the most visibly red signs of inflammation of any type of arthritis. An initial attack of gout may last several days and disappear even if untreated. Subsequent attacks may not occur for weeks, months, years, or not at all. In severe cases, repeated attacks occurring over a long period may cause damage to the joints and loss of mobility.
A definitive diagnosis of gout can be made by examination of aspirated joint fluid with a polarizinglight microscope for evidence of crystals. Approximately one million people in the
United States suffer from gout. It is nine times more common in men than women, predominantly after puberty with a peak age of 75. Gout attacks in women usually occur after menopause.