Can gout spread through your body?

Unfortunately, gout can spread throughout the body, and it can be most painful and unpleasant. Gout is known as the “the disease of kings" or "a rich man’s disease” because it is thought to be linked to a diet that contains a lot of meat, seafood, and alcohol, which all increase uric-acid levels in the body. With gout, uric-acid crystals are deposited in the bloodstream, joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues, causing pain and stiffness.

The usual treatment is to start on a drug, such as Zyloprim (allopurinol), that inhibits the conversion of purine in foods into uric acid; instead the purine is eliminated through urine and feces.

If a gout patient does not get relief with this class of drug, the next class to consider is the uricosurics — Benuryl (probenecid) is one example — which work to increase the excretion of uric acid from the body. However, because of the known side effects of Benuryl, this drug is often reserved as a second line of defense against gout. Still, a patient whose symptoms are not relieved by Zyloprim should be switched to Benuryl promptly.