What are the symptoms of high uric acid?
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:
- Formation of kidney stones: Symptoms and signs include the following:
- 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:
- Genetics (running in the family)
- Hypoparathyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland)
- Excess alcohol intake
- High blood pressure
- Renal failure
- Medullary cystic kidney disease
- Dehydration, often due to diuretic medicines
- Excessive exercise
- Purine-rich diet
- Polycythemia vera
- People with cancer or on chemotherapy (elevated uric acid levels caused due to tumor lysis syndrome)
- Lead poisoning
- Gender (men are more prone to develop hyperuricemia than women)
- Toxemia of pregnancy
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:
Xanthine oxidase inhibitors
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.
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>.
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