Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are normally produced in the body but they are also found in some foods and drinks.
Most uric acid dissolves in the blood and travels to the kidneys. From there, it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or does not remove enough if it, you can get sick.
Because of high-purine foods, the uric acid in the body starts to crystallize. High concentrations of uric acid in the urine (hyperuricosuria) can lead to potentially serious problems.
Crystallized uric acid can end up in the kidneys in the form of kidney stones, or in the joints where it causes gout (a form of arthritis).
Symptoms of excess uric acid remaining in your body
Uric acid may remain in your body if your kidneys fail to push it out through urination. The symptoms are:
- Joint pain
- Lumps on skin
- Kidney stones
What will the symptoms lead to?
As mentioned above, the joint pain due to high levels of uric acid is caused by a form of arthritis, gout. Gout occurs when crystals formed from uric acid affect your joints and cause intense pain. You often feel it in your big toe, but it can get it in your ankles, feet, hands, knees, and wrists, as well. It will cause swelling, redness, and discomfort in those joints, and may limit your range of motion.
Lumps on the skin are basically uric acid crystals that may start to collect in soft tissue. The forming lumps are called tophi. They often appear on the hands, fingers, elbows, and ears, but they can show up almost anywhere on the body.
Kidney stones may form in your kidneys which will send a sharp pain across your back and side. The crystal form of uric acid will form stones that could be painful to pass out through urination.
How can you check if your uric acid is high?
A blood test or a urine test can be done to get uric acid levels.
During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. For a urine test, you’ll need to collect the urine you passed in a 24-hour period.
How can you lower the level of uric acid in your body?
High acid levels in the blood, called acidosis, must directly be associated with the body’s uric acid level. A pH level less than 7 is considered to be acidic. To keep your body alkaline, add apples, apple cider vinegar, tart cherry juice, baking soda and lemons to your diet. Alkalinizing the urine (raising its pH) is an effective strategy which can actually dissolve uric acid stones.
Drink water. When your body doesn’t have enough water, your uric acid levels rise even higher. Stay hydrated to help keep those levels normal.
Purine-rich foods include some types of meat, seafood, and vegetables. All of these foods give off uric acid when they’re digested.
Avoid or reduce your intake of foods such as:
- organ meats
- fish and shellfish
- green peas
- dried beans
The sugar fructose is a main type of simple sugar in processed and refined foods. Researchers have found that this type of sugar in particular could lead to high levels of uric acid. Avoid fructose to keep yourself free from the effects of excessive sugar that is not excreted by the kidneys.
Eat plenty of vegetables such as kailan, cabbage, squash, red bell pepper and beetroot. Eat fruits high in vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines, papaya and cherries.
Studies also show that drinking low-fat milk and eating low-fat dairy can reduce your uric acid levels. The proteins found in milk promote excretion of uric acid in the urine.
Are results of high uric acid life threatening?
A risk with kidney stones is a kidney infection, which can lead to sepsis. Sepsis kills and disables millions and requires early suspicion and rapid treatment for survival.
Sepsis and septic shock can result from an infection anywhere in the body, such as pneumonia, influenza, or urinary tract infections.
A high blood uric acid level is associated with a statistically significant increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, stroke or congestive heart failure.
How can you treat uric acid fluctuations?
The following medicines can help you with extreme high uric acid levels:
- Llopurinol (Aloprim, Zyloprim) reduces uric acid production.
- Colchicine (Colcrys) reduces inflammation.
- Febuxostat (Uloric) reduces uric acid production.
- Indomethacin (Indocin) is a pain reliever.
- Lesinurad helps your body get rid of uric acid.
Keep in mind, these are the medicines that will most likely be given to you. However you absolutely have to consult your doctor before you choose to start treating yourself at home. Only a professional will be able to assign you your daily dosage.
About one in five people has a high uric acid level. It may be related to attacks of gout or the development of kidney stones. But most people with high uric acid levels don’t have any symptoms or related problems.
Detect your symptoms sooner by paying attention to any joint, back or groin pain that arises.