Mar 30, 2015

Symptoms of High Uric Acid

Purine is a chemical that is naturally present in the body, and is also found in certain types of foods. The body produces uric acid as a waste by breaking down purine. The uric acid is then carried in the blood, filtered out by the kidneys, and eliminated in the urine. However, in some cases, the kidneys may not get rid of the uric acid normally, or the body may start producing too much of it. This increases the level of uric acid in the blood. This condition of high uric acid level is clinically known as hyperuricemia.

What is Too Much Uric Acid in Blood
If your uric acid level exceeds the normal range (listed below), then you have hyperuricemia.

In men: 3.1-7.0 mg/dL
In women: 2.4-6.0 mg/dL
In children: 2.0-5.5 mg/dL

*mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter

Symptoms of Hyperuricemia
Mostly, a high uric level causes no harm. However, in some cases, people may develop complications such as gout, kidney stones, or even kidney failure. Note that, it is these conditions that trigger various unpleasant symptoms.

When uric acid starts accumulating in the blood, it may begin to build up in the form of crystals that are hard and needle-like. These urate crystals form within joints or the surrounding tissues, and trigger symptoms, which may include:
  • Inflammation, swelling, tenderness and redness, mostly in the big toe. Joints in the foot, ankle, knees, hands and wrists may also be affected
  • Intense and sharp pain in the affected joints. Most people experience the attack at night, when they are asleep
  • The pain might be intensified even by the touch of something as light as a sheet
  • Lingering attacks of gout pain that may last for a few days or weeks
Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard lumps formed by accumulation of waste products in the blood. When uric acid levels are elevated, they can form into hard, stone-like deposits inside the kidneys. Kidney stones do not cause any symptoms until one or more of these stones travel down the ureters to the bladder. The symptoms that occur may include:
  • An intense pain that has an abrupt start and ending. The pain is usually felt at the back or side of the abdomen
  • Pain in regions such as the groin or testicles
  • Pain that may last for minutes or hours, with intervals when there is no such pain
  • Painful urination; may or may not be accompanied by a burning sensation
  • Abnormal urine; foul-smelling, cloudy, red, brown or pink
  • Nausea, vomiting, and if an infection is present, then fever
  • Frequent urination, and increased urine output
Chronic Kidney Failure
High uric acid in the blood may cause kidney stones, which may advance to a more severe condition called chronic kidney failure. In this condition, the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter waste products from the blood. Symptoms usually show up, when the condition has reached an advanced stage. It is in routine medical checkups, that a case of chronic kidney failure is usually detected. The symptoms that occur include:
  • Swollen limbs (occurs from fluid retention)
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Malaise, fatigue
  • Loss of appetite, unintended weight loss
  • Headaches, nausea
  • Breathing difficulty (a sign of fluid getting accumulated in the lungs)
  • Hematuria (blood in urine)
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased urine output
  • Cognitive problems
What Causes Too Much Uric Acid in Blood?
Hyperuricemia may be linked to factors such as:
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Malfunctioning kidneys that do not filter waste normally
  • Genetics
  • Water pills
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cancer treatment
  • Supplements such as niacin or vitamin C
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • A diet high in purine-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, beer, etc.
  • Starvation
  • Lead poisoning
Note that, having a high uric acid level in blood, does not necessarily predispose a person to develop conditions like gout, kidney stones or kidney failure. But, taking early treatment measures to manage such symptoms, does mitigate the risks of developing all such complications.


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