High uric acid: what it is, main symptoms and causes

Uric acid is a substance formed by the body after digesting proteins, which form a substance called purine, which then gives rise to uric acid crystals, which accumulate in the joints causing intense pain. 

Normally uric acid does not cause any health problems and is eliminated by the kidneys, however, when there is a kidney problem, when the person ingests too many proteins or when his body produces excess uric acid, it accumulates in the joints, tendons and kidneys, giving origin of Gouty Arthritis, also popularly known as Gout, which is the very painful type of arthritis

Excess uric acid is curable, as its imbalances can be controlled through a balanced diet, increasing water intake and eating a low calorie and low protein diet. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle must also be combated, with the regular practice of moderate physical exercise. In some cases, when there are very intense symptoms, the doctor may guide the use of specific remedies. 

How to understand the uric acid test

The analysis of uric acid can be done by examining blood or urine, and the reference values ​​are:

 BloodUrine
Man3,4 – 7,0 mg/dL0.75 g / dia
Woman2,4 – 6,0 mg/dL0.24 g / dia

The uric acid test is usually requested by the doctor to help with the diagnosis, especially when the patient has pain in the joints or when there are suspicions of more serious diseases, such as kidney damage or leukemia.

The most common is that the patient’s values ​​are above the reference values ​​but there is also  low uric acid that is related to congenital diseases, such as Wilson’s disease, for example. 

High uric acid symptoms

The main symptoms of high uric acid, which mainly affects men, are:

  • Pain and swelling in a joint, especially the big toe, ankle, knee or fingers;
  • Difficulty moving the affected joint;
  • Redness at the joint site, which may even get hotter than usual;
  • Deformation of the joint due to excessive accumulation of crystals.

It is also common for kidney stones to constantly appear, which cause severe pain in the back and difficulty urinating, for example. Check out more details of elevated uric acid symptoms .

Or that causes elevated uric acid 

Excessive consumption of protein-rich foods, such as red meat, seafood and fish, increases the chances of high uric acid, as does excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, both by increasing urate production and reducing elimination, and and the consumption of foods rich in saturated fat that increases the risk of insulin resistance and obesity, which decrease the elimination of urate by the kidneys. 

How to treat or high uric acid

Treatment for high uric acid should be guided by a general practitioner or rheumatologist, but it usually includes the use of medicines to lower uric acid such as Allopurinol, Probenecid or Sulfinpyrazone, and the use of anti-inflammatories, such as Indomethacin or Ibuprofen, to relieve joint pain. Changes in lifestyle, especially in diet, exercise and water intake, are also extremely important.

During treatment, it is also very important to make a diet for uric acid, avoiding the consumption of purine-rich foods, such as red meats, fish and seafood, as well as giving preference to natural foods over industrialized ones. 

What not to eat

Ideally the best type of food for people with excess uric acid is one that includes only the use of organic foods, containing a small amount of processed products.

However, organic foods should also be avoided for those that are richer in purines, such as:

  • Excessive red meat;
  • Seafood, mussels, mackerel, sardines, herring and other fish;
  • Very ripe or very sweet fruit, such as mango, fig, persimmon or pineapple;
  • Goose meat or chicken in excess;
  • Excessive alcoholic beverages, mainly beer. 

In addition, more refined carbohydrates such as bread, cakes or cookies should also be avoided. See a more complete list of what to avoid to relieve symptoms .

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