When the substances in the body named purines are breakdown, a chemical is created named Uric Acid. It dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys and passed out through urine. It is the waste product in the body and too much production of uric acid and inability to remove excess of the produced lead to Hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is the condition in which a high level of uric acid is in the blood. Purines are found in your own body and along with that some food has a high level of purines. These are liver beans, beer. There are many ways to reduce uric acid levels in body naturally.
High uric acid or hyperuricemia could lead to Gout. When too much uric acid gets accumulated in the body and enough amount is not released from urine it forms crystals in the joint. This condition is called Gout that causes pain and inflammation around joints. Not only Gout, excess uric acid is bad for health and can lead to the formation of kidney stones too.
High uric acid levels is commonly associated with Gout. Men have a higher tendency and risk of developing Gout than women due to higher levels of baseline uric acid. According to data from various countries it is seen gout is becoming more prevalent.
Also according to another study conducted by the National Kidney Foundation, in the United States alone its prevalence doubled from the 1960s to the 1990s and it is estimated now at 3.9 percent that is around 8.3 million adults.
As per the reports from Chronicle, India would emerge as the capital of Osteoarthritis by 2025 with more than 60 million to be likely affected. Around 14 percent of the Indian population seeks doctor’s help every year for joint disease.
Causes of High Uric Acid levels in Body
However, the causes of high uric acid levels are not clear but few causes are listed as
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Medications like Diuretics
- Medical condition like Gout
- Kidney diseases
- Patients having cancer treatment
Gout – in people with gout that is the inflammation that occurs affecting one joint, uric acid crystals build up in the joints thus causing swelling and pain. It affects the toes, ankles, and knee joints.
Kidney disease could alter kidney function thus making it difficult to pass the extra waste from the urine. This can further lead to the build-up of uric acid levels in the blood.
People undergoing cancer treatments need to keep a check on Uric acid levels especially those undergoing Chemotherapy, continuous monitoring of uric acid levels is important.
Symptoms of High Uric acid levels
Hyperuricemia or high uric acid can show various symptoms once the uric acid levels are high for a longer duration otherwise you might not show any symptoms. These symptoms should be taken care of and immediate consultation with your doctor is required to prevent further health issues.
The symptoms of Gout
- Swelling in joints that are localized
- Painful joints
- Joints are warm on touch
- Most commonly swelling is seen on the toe, ankle, knee, hands, wrist
The symptoms of Kidney stones
- Pain most commonly in the lower back, abdomen, and sides of the stomach
- Pain is sharp and fluctuates in intensity from mild to severe
- Foul-smelling urine with cloudiness
- Urge to urinate more often
- Passing a small amount of urine with difficulty
- Fever with chills
- Blood in the urine
Diagnosis for high Uric acid levels
High uric acid levels could be simply detected by a simple Blood test or Urine Test.
You just have to stay empty stomach that is you don’t need to eat or drink anything for at least 5 hours before the test is done. You must always inform your doctor about the medications, you are taking so that he may be able to advise you accordingly.
A blood sample is usually drawn from your arm and the collected sample is used to determine the uric acid levels in your blood. The units used for the range are mg/dL.
The ideal range for males is above 7 mg/dL
Ideal range for females is above 6 mg / dL
The results are obtained in a day on two depending on the laboratory.
A blood sample could only tell the levels of uric acid in the blood however if you have symptoms of gouty arthritis your doctor would prescribe you other tests depending on the need that may range from taking fluid from the swollen joint to see uric acid crystals, X rays.
Urinalysis or Urine test –
A urine test is a safe procedure, easy to do, painless procedure in which urine is collected over 24 hour period. The procedure of urine collection is explained by the doctor.
After waking up, urinate and flush the first sample. After that, a urine sample is collected for the remaining 24 hours and stored in a refrigerator and the containers are labeled and returned to the laboratory for further analysis.
Once the laboratory would give the results the doctor would prescribe the treatment accordingly and will share other ways to reduce uric acid levels.
Purpose of test
A uric acid test is done to identify the problem causing the high uric acid levels in body thus treating the same. These tests are done to
- Diagnose gout
- Diagnose kidney disease and kidney stones
- To monitor underlying gout and kidney problems
- To monitor uric acid of people on chemotherapy
- Also to check the functioning of the kidney
Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent the chances of high uric acid levels, there are these ways
Diet another ways to reduce uric acid levels–
Diet plays a very important role in lowering uric acid naturally. Purines are found in a high amount in few foods and are present in less amount in other foods. The food high in purines is harmful thus the intake must be limited.
Food that is rich in purines are –
- Liver (organ meat )
- Alcohol and alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Vegetables such as spinach, peas, cauliflower, mushrooms
- Food containing high sugar content
Food with less purine content –
- Bread, pasta, whole grain rice
- Fat-free dairy products
- Vegetables like tomatoes
- Water at least 2 liters /day should be consumed
- Fruit juices
- Peanut butter
Drugs/medication that results in high uric acid levels–
Few medications also elevate uric acid. These are –
- Diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide
But these medications are important for other health issues, so always keep a check on uric acid levels as advised by your doctor.
Check on weight/obesity
Excessive weight or obesity flared up the gout incidences. Being overweight can affect health in so many other ways, other than that it can flare up gout by raising uric acid levels.
Rapid weight loss is also associated with increased uric acid. So you must never opt for sudden weight loss, rather maintain a balanced diet, physical exercise, and thus lose weight slowly and systematically.
Alcohol and alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, sodas could raise uric acid levels if consumed too much and beyond the limit. They are also harmful to the body and could raise various other health issues.
Vitamin Supplements –
(Another possible ways to reduce uric acid)
A 2011 meta–analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials d\found vitamin C reduced the levels of uric acid to much extent. However, researches don’t prove that vitamin C prevents gout, however, it seems to lower uric acid levels.
Quick fact – Some researches indicate people who drink coffee are likely at less risk of developing gout. 22 percent reduction of development of gout has been found in women who daily drink coffee. It is also found coffee improves overall health too. However, one must always discuss the risks with their healthcare provider depending on the other health issues.
Treatment for High Uric Acid Levels
Best Treatment of high uric acid levels or hyperuricemia depends on the cause. Below are the ways to reduce uric acid levels.
Treatment of Gout due to Uric Acid
If you have gout flared up due to high uric acid in the bloodstream causing inflammation, swelling, and pain you would be prescribed medications like NSAID’s and Uric acid-lowering medications.
You would be advised to drink plenty of fluids and avoid high purine-rich content food and food products.
Allopurinol is prescribed as it helps in reducing uric acid levels in the blood.
Treatment of Kidney stones due to Uric acid
Drink plenty of fluids is usually advised to pass out the kidney stones from urine. Drinking around 2 liters of water daily would help in passing the kidney stones that are smaller than 5mm easily from urine.
In few cases, if the stone is 5mm or larger medications are also advised that relaxes ureter muscles thus helps in passing the stones.
If the stone is 10mm or larger surgical removal of the stone is required as it can cause infection and could block the urine flow too.
Question and Answers
Q1. What is the reference range for Uric Acid?
The reference range of uric acid is as follows
Adult male – 4.0 -8.5 mg/dl
Adult female- 2.7-7.3 mg/dl
Q2. Best fruits to have if you have high uric acid.
Fruits such as oranges, apples, blueberries, bananas help reduce excess uric acid levels. Consumption of cherries is associated with a statistically significant 35 percent lowering the risk of a gout attack.
Q3. How often you should get your uric acid checked?
Once you have been diagnosed with high uric acid and have started medications you should take them daily as advised by your healthcare provider. However, regular health checkups that include blood tests are advised every year to keep a check on uric acid.
Q4. Can uric acid be permanently cured?
There is as such no permanent cure, a combination of medication, lifestyle modification and exercise could help it in maintaining the levels thus preventing flaring up of gout and other kidney diseases.
Q5. Ways to reduce uric acid levels in less time?
Few modifications in diet such as consuming a low purine-rich diet, avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and adding by adding fiber in the diet you can reduce uric acid in the fastest way.
Q6. Home remedy to manage acute gout attack.
Ice packs are effective adjuncts in the management of acute gout attacks.
On the final note, I would like to conclude, high uric is not untreatable, it can be managed with diet, maintain proper weight, and being physically active. If the incidence of Gout, joint pains, or other kidney issues flares up due to high uric acid it could be controlled by a disease management program in consultation with your healthcare provider.
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