Do the symptoms of untreated gout change over time?

Updated: Jan 26, 2021
  • Author: Bruce M Rothschild, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The pattern of symptoms in untreated gout changes over time. The attacks can become more polyarticular. More proximal and upper-extremity joints become involved. Attacks tend to occur more frequently and last longer.

Eventually, patients may develop chronic polyarticular arthritis, sometimes nearly symmetrical, that can resemble rheumatoid arthritis. Indeed, chronic polyarticular arthritis that began as an intermittent arthritis should prompt consideration of a crystalline disorder in the differential diagnosis.


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