High uric acid level is also called as hyperuricemia. This is a condition wherein excessive uric acid is found in the blood. The breakdown of purine causes production of uric acid. Purine is a substance that is found in numerous foods, they form the chemical structure of genetic makeup of living beings. When uric acid is produced, it gets carried in your blood and traverses through your kidney where it is filtered. The filtration process causes most uric acid to be excreted through urine; only a small amount of this acid is passed through stools. The level of uric acid in blood increases when considerable amount of uric acid is not excreted from the body or the kidney is not able to process sufficient amount of this acid.
It is said that high uric acid may cause episodes of gout; however, not all individuals affected with high uric acid suffer from this problem. Gout occurs when uric acid level in blood leads to formation of solid crystals in the joints. If gouts remain unaddressed then crystals may get accumulated in the joints and surrounding regions causing hard lumpy formation called ‘tophi’. In severe cases, increased amount of uric acid may also lead to kidney failure and kidney stones.
Causes of increased uric acid level
High uric acid accumulates in your blood when your body produces high amount of this acid and the kidney is not able to process sufficient amounts to be excreted through urine. In some individuals, the condition can also cause hypertension apart from kidney stone formation and renal failure. Chronic kidney diseases and heart diseases are other complications that may be resulted due to hyperuricemia. However, experts are trying to determine whether these conditions are a direct cause of the condition or merely its symptoms. Some common factors that may lead to hyperuricemia include:
- Water pills or diuretic medicines
- Consuming excessive amount of alcohol
- Inheritance or genetic predisposition
- Underactive thyroid gland (technically called hypothyroidism)
- Immune suppressant medications
- Niacin and vitamin B-3 supplements
- Obese people can also suffer from this condition
- Psoriasis may also lead to hyperuricemia
- Foods that are rich in purine such as organ meat, anchovies, dried beans, mushrooms, etc
- Renal inability to process purine
- Tumor lysis syndrome- a condition wherein rapid release of cells in the blood due to cancer or cancer treatment such as chemotherapy
Symptoms of High Uric acid levels
High uric acid symptoms greatly depend on its manifestation. The symptoms of the condition are explained below –
In case a person is experiencing gout episodes associated with hyperuricemia, then he may experience inflammation, protrusion, reddened area and tender region of big toe. Other joints in the body such as in hands, knee, foot, ankle, etc may also be affected with such irregularities. The sufferer may also experience intense, excruciating pain at the joints. These episodes are often experienced during nights in most cases, and may at times intensify at the slightest touch. Patient may also experience lasting episodes of pain that remain for days or weeks.
- Kidney stones:
In case high uric acid level leads to kidney stones the affected individual may experience various symptoms. The affected individual may suffer from excruciating pain that may start and end abruptly. This pain is often felt at the sides or back of the abdomen. Pain experienced in pelvic area such as groin or testicles. Experienced pain may also last for minutes to hours along with intervals. Sometimes urination may be painful and may be accompanied with burning sensation. Other symptoms that are experienced include cloudy urine, foul pungent smell in urine, urine color changes, vomiting, queasiness, infection, frequent urination, increase volume of urine, etc.
- Kidney failure due to uric acid:
High iric acid may also lead to failure of kidney wherein swollen limbs is considered as a common symptom. Such swelling is caused due to fluid retention. Some people may also experience itchiness and dryness (dehydration of the skin). Malaise (uneasiness) and fatigue (tiredness) are some other symptoms experienced due to kidney failure. Affected individual may also suffer from dramatic reduction in appetite leading to unintended weight loss. When fluid gets accumulated in the lung the affected individual may also suffer from breathing difficulties. Other commonly recorded symptoms include headache, queasiness, sleeping issues, hypertension, blood in urine, decreased urine volume and cognitive issues, etc.
Uric acid diagnosis
Uric acid diagnosis is basically done through uric acid blood test. This test is also commonly known as serum uric acid measurement. This evaluation technique helps in determining the amount of uric acid present in the blood. It also indirectly helps in understanding how well your body can produce process and eradicate uric acid. The test also helps in diagnosing gouts, check for kidney stones, decreased uric acid, etc. Before the test, ensure to inform the expert about the medicines that you are taking. You can also speak about any concerns with your doctor before taking the test. The procedure for this test is similar to any conventional blood test.
Treatment for high amount of uric acid
Treatment for hyperuricemia mainly includes dietary changes along with medicines that are suggested by the doctor. The focus of the treatment would be to treat underlying diseases that may be the reason for high uric acid in blood.
Hyperuricemia can be resulted due to consuming diet that is rich in purine. Thus reducing consumption of such foods that contain purine can in turn help in reducing uric acid level in blood. You should strictly avoid foods that contain high amount of proteins and alkaloids. Avoiding fried foods and white sugar should also help in alleviating the condition. It is also determined that dietary changes can also help in reducing uric acid level to normal range even in cases wherein the condition is not associated with diet.
Medicines such as probenecid, allupurinol, febuxostate, sulfinpyrazone, etc are used for treating hyperuricemia. These medicines can help in alleviating the condition by controlling the production of uric acid and enhances body’s ability to excrete more uric acid. This will eventually bring the blood uric acid level to normal.