Causes Of Increased Uric Acid In Blood – High levels of uric acid in the blood, called hyperuricemia, can be associated with gout, as well as other conditions such as hypertension. Many healthcare professionals recommend treating hyperuricemia with diet, lifestyle changes, and/or medication.
This page explains what uric acid is, how hyperuricemia develops, how it is associated with gout and other conditions, and how to lower blood uric acid levels.
Causes Of Increased Uric Acid In Blood
The body produces uric acid from the breakdown of purines. Purines are organic chemicals found naturally in human cells and foods. After the breakdown of purines in the body, uric acid enters the bloodstream.
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Uric acid is not necessarily harmful—in fact, it can act as an antioxidant under certain conditions in the body. 1 Stewart DJ, Langlois W, Noon D. Hyperuricemia and hypertension: links and risks. IntegBuild Press Control. 2019; 12:43-62. Published December 24, 2019 doi:10.2147/IBPC.S184685
2 El Reddy R, Thelma H. Physiological functions and pathogenic potential of uric acid: a review. J Adv Res. 2017; 8(5): 487-493. doi: 10.1016/j.jare.2017.03.003 Most uric acid is processed in the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Some are excreted in the urine.
Low levels of uric acid in the blood are normal. Uric acid levels can become too high when one or more of the following events occur:
When hyperuricemia occurs, excess uric acid can accumulate in the joints, where it can form uric acid crystals, also called urate crystals. These crystals can irritate the joints and increase the immune system response that causes joint inflammation. The resulting joint pain, swelling, redness, and heat is called a gout attack.
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These facts suggest that hyperuricemia may be the only active factor in gut development. 4 Yip K., Cohen R.E., Pillinger M.H. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Kurr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000679 Researchers are investigating why some people with hyperuricemia develop gout and others don’t.
Unlike gout, pseudogout is not associated with hyperuricemia. Pseudogout is caused by calcium phosphate crystals and causes gout-like symptoms.
People with hyperuricemia—whether symptomatic or asymptomatic—are more likely to have other health problems. It is not clear whether hyperuricemia contributes to the development or exacerbation of these diseases.
When uric acid crystals form, they can accumulate in the kidneys and cause kidney stones to form. (There are different types of kidney stones; uric acid stones are just one type.) Experts estimate that about 14 percent of people with gout have kidney stones. 5 Kramer HM, Kurhan G. Relationship between gout and nephrolithiasis: National Health and Nutrition Survey III, 1988–1994. MF renal disc. July 2002; 40(1):37-42. PubMed PMID: 12087559. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2002.33911
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High uric acid levels are known to be associated with high blood pressure. Limited evidence suggests that treatment of hyperuricemia can prevent or delay the development of hypertension. 4 Yip K., Cohen R.E., Pillinger M.H. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Kurr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.00000000000000679
Ischemic heart disease and heart failure are associated with hyperuricemia. One study found that about half of patients who were hospitalized or died of heart failure also had hyperuricemia. 6 Palazzuoli A., Ruocco G., De Vivo O., Nuti R., McCullough P.A. The prevalence of hyperuricemia in patients with acute heart failure with reduced or preserved ejection fraction. Am Jay Cardiol. 2017; 120(7): 1146-1150. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.06.057. As described by Ip K, Cohen RE, Pillinger MH. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Kurr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.00000000000000679
Some researchers suggest that the enzyme that produces uric acid, rather than uric acid itself, is associated with coronary heart disease. 4 Yip K., Cohen R.E., Pillinger M.H. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Kurr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.00000000000000679
Asymptomatic hyperuricemia is associated with type 2 diabetes. Some researchers believe that uric acid levels may affect the pancreas and worsen insulin resistance. 4 Yip K., Cohen R.E., Pillinger M.H. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Kurr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.00000000000000679
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You can measure the amount of uric acid in your blood and urine. Diagnosis usually involves a blood sample, and measurements are often expressed in milligrams of uric acid per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The diagnosis of hyperuricemia is discussed in 7 de Oliveira EP, Burini RC. High plasma uric acid concentration: causes and consequences. Diabetol Metab Synder. 2012; 4:12. Posted April 4, 2012 doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-4-12
8 Maiuolo J, Oppedisano F, Gratteri S, Muscoli S, Mollache V. Regulation of uric acid metabolism and excretion. Int J Cardiol. 2016; 213:8–14. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.08.109:
It is important to note that blood uric acid levels naturally vary, and what is considered “normal” may vary depending on the lab that analyzes it.
Unlike blood cell counts and laboratory tests for cholesterol, a laboratory test to measure uric acid levels is not considered routine in North America and Europe. 4 Yip K., Cohen R.E., Pillinger M.H. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it really asymptomatic? Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2020; 32(1): 71-79. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000679 A doctor will usually order this test only if they have a reason for doing so—for example, they suspect that the patient has or is at risk of gout.
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Signs and symptoms of hyperuricemia are usually associated with the presence of urate crystals in the joints, neck, or kidneys. 2 El Reddy R, Thelma H. Physiological functions and pathogenic potential of uric acid: a review. J Adv Res. 2017; 8(5): 487-493. doi: 10.1016/j.jare.2017.03.003 Individuals with abnormally high uric acid levels and no signs or symptoms of urate accumulation are considered symptomatic hyperuricemia. 9 Paul BJ, Anopkumar K, Krishnan V. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it time to intervene? Klin Revmatol. 2017; 36(12): 2637-2644. doi: 10.1007/s10067-017-3851-i
People interested in managing hyperuricemia through diet are encouraged to learn about purines found in foods and drinks. Experts estimate that a diet low in purines can reduce uric acid levels by up to 15 percent. 9 Paul BJ, Anopkumar K, Krishnan V. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia: is it time to intervene? Klin Revmatol. 2017; 36(12): 2637-2644. doi:10.1007/s10067-017-3851-i If you suddenly develop sore, painful, swollen joints in your feet or legs, or possibly your neck, knees, fingers, hands, or shoulders, you may have gout. Gout is a condition that causes inflammation and irritation of the joints due to the buildup of uric acid, leading to pain, swelling, and other symptoms. If you are dealing with gout, know that this is not a life sentence. There are some simple natural support strategies you can try to improve your health.
In this article, you will learn what git is. You will understand its common symptoms and underlying causes. I will share the best lab testing options for gout. I will also share my best natural support strategies to improve your health.
Gout is a type of arthritis. This is a condition caused by the accumulation of uric acid due to improper diet and metabolic problems. Gout causes damage and swelling to various joints in the body. When your body produces uric acid, it forms crystals called urates. Urates are highly irritating and can penetrate joints, causing irritation and inflammation (1, 2, 3).
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Gout usually affects the feet, especially the big toe. It can also affect your ankles, wrists, knees, elbows, and fingers. It is characterized by pain and swelling. You may have sudden and intense attacks of gout, as if your leg is on fire (1, 2, 3). Gout can be a frustrating and painful condition, however, it is possible to reduce and manage gout symptoms and restore healthy metabolic function through natural lifestyle strategies, which I will discuss later in this article.
Some people with gout may experience asymptomatic gout without symptoms. In most cases of acute gout, the following symptoms can be expected due to the rapid accumulation of uric acid (1, 2, 3):
You may feel these symptoms on your fingers (especially your big toe), feet, knees, wrists, elbows, and fingers. Symptoms of acute gout can last from 3 to 10 days. You may not experience gout symptoms until your next gout attack (1, 2, 3).
However, untreated gout can be chronic, causing hard lumps called blunts to form in the joints, skin, and surrounding tissues. Because arthritis can cause permanent joint damage, it’s important to treat acute gout and reduce the risk of gout attacks (4).
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More than 3 million people in the United States suffer from gout. Men are more affected than men by women with kidney disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes (2). Gout can develop for a variety of reasons, including one or more of the underlying causes of gout:
Your genetics may increase your chances of developing gout. Gout is hereditary. If you have one or more people in your family with gout, your risk of developing gout is higher (3).
Although you cannot change your family history, arthritis can develop for a number of reasons. If you have a family history of gout, it’s especially important to focus on other underlying causes of gout that you can easily control with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Insulin resistance occurs when fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond properly to insulin and cannot handle all the glucose in the blood. This causes your pancreas to produce more and more insulin to help with glucose.
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