ANSWER: Gout is not directly fatal. However, it can lead to serious illness if left untreated.
More Info: Gout is the result of accumulation of uric acid crystals in soft tissue. It often occurs in the joints of the toes. A gout attack is often extremely painful with redness of the skin overlying the joint. When gout attacks, it comes on quickly and reaches the most severe level of pain in eight to twelve hours. Early on in the course of gout, attacks will spontaneously resolve within two weeks or so. If you leave these attacks untreated, they will become more frequent and last longer.
If enough uric acid gout crystals accumulate, you can develop a permanent lump called a gouty tophus. If these gout crystals accumulate enough, they can actually destroy a joint. Even more seriously, gout can occur in the kidneys and lead to chronic kidney damage. Having gout also means that you are more susceptable to become seriously ill from additional medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Gout occurs more often in men than women, and it more frequent in African-Americans than Caucasian-Americans. It usually doesn’t occur in women until they reach menopause.
Several treatments are available for gout. Your doctor can discuss these with you if you are having problems with gout.
“Gout.” eMedicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. <emedicine.medscape.com/article/329958-treatment>.