What Happens if Uric Acid Is High?

Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2022

What are the symptoms of high uric acid?

elevated uric acid
High uric acid levels in the blood may cause a variety of health issues.

Uric acid is a waste product produced in the body that is mostly eliminated by the kidneys through urine.

A high uric acid level may occur when your kidneys don't eliminate uric acid efficiently. This may be seen in individuals who consume foods rich in uric acid, have too much alcohol, are overweight, have diabetes, take certain medications such as diuretics, or have dysfunctional kidneys.

A person with high uric acid may not always experience symptoms. However, symptoms may appear in people with associated serious health conditions or long-standing uric acid spikes in the blood.

Increased uric acid levels in the blood eventually build up in the tissues, causing health problems.

Sometimes, the following health issues occur suddenly in the body:

  • Gout (inflammation of a joint) is characterized as:
    • Intense joint pain, especially in the first 12-24 hours
    • Joint pain that lasts a few days to a few weeks and extends to other joints over time
    • Redness, soreness, and swelling around the joint
    • Reduced range of motion
  • Formation of kidney stones: Symptoms and signs include the following:
    • Back pain
    • Pain in and around the flank
    • Increased urination
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Changes in urine:
      • Cloudiness
      • Presence of blood
      • Unusual smell
  • Fever and chills

What is uric acid?

Uric acid is a chemical that is produced by the body when purines are broken down.

  • Purines are chemical substances that are present in various foods and beverages
  • Purine-rich foods include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dry beans and peas, and beer.

Purines are naturally created by the body. They are present in the DNA of the cells, so the cells in the body are damaged and die creating uric acid as a waste product.

Normal uric acid levels:

  • Women: 2.4 to 6.0 mg/dL
  • Men: 3.4 to 7.0 mg/dL

Normal values may vary from one laboratory to another.

Diagnosis of uric acid levels is done by analyzing a sample of your blood in the lab.

What is the reason for high uric acid in the blood?

The following are possible causes of high uric acid levels in the blood:


The only purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood. See Answer

What are the treatment options for high uric acid in the blood?

High uric acid levels may be managed by the following prescription drugs administered by your doctor:

Uricosuric medications

Uricosuric medications act by preventing urate reabsorption, which prevents uric acid crystals from forming in your tissues. Probenecid and sulfinpyrazone are two uricosuric medicines.

Xanthine oxidase inhibitors

Gout can be avoided by using xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol. However, if used during an episode of acute joint inflammation, it may aggravate your gout symptoms.

If you have a specific type of leukemia or lymphoma, you may be given allopurinol to reduce chemotherapy problems and tumor lysis syndrome. These conditions may increase uric acid levels in your blood, which will gather and form crystals in your kidneys. This can occur during treatment and lead to renal failure.

High uric acid summary

Uric acid is a waste product that, if present in excess, can harm the joints and tissue. When a person's uric acid levels are elevated for a lengthy period, they may experience health difficulties.

If a person has gout, their uric acid levels must remain within a healthy range. This can help alleviate symptoms and lessen the likelihood of a gout flare-up.

Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Hunt, Olivia. "High uric acid levels: causes, symptoms, and testing." Thriva. Feb. 25, 2022. <https://thriva.co/hub/blood-tests/high-uric-acid-symptoms-causes>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "What Is Gout?" July 27, 2020. <https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html>.

"Uric Acid (Blood)." University of Rochester Medical Center. <https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=uric_acid_blood>.