General Health

How Do Uric Acid Levels Affect Your Health?

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 20 April 2023, Updated on - 19 June 2023

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Did you know uric acid is a waste product present in the blood? The human body breaks down the chemicals known as purines to produce uric acid. Most of it dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys before leaving your body through urine. However, if your body is unable to get rid of it fast enough or your diet includes too much purine, then uric acid levels in your blood can rise.

An increase in these levels leads to a condition called hyperuricemia. Increased levels of uric acid in the body are linked to numerous health issues like diabetes, kidney diseases, and heart problems. Let us know more about it.

3 Problems Caused by Abnormal Uric Acid Levels

Some common health problems caused by abnormal levels of uric acid in the body include: 

1. Gout

The symptoms of gout usually come and go, typically affecting a single joint in the body. People suffering from gout experience uric acid build up in the tissues and joints, resulting in swelling, pain, and discolouration. This condition generally affects ankles, toe joints, and knees.

2. Kidney Stones

The crystals of uric acid can cause stones to form in the kidneys. Usually, these stones are small enough to pass in the urine on their own. However, sometimes, they can be too large to pass and block parts of the urinary tract. Some common symptoms of kidney stones are nausea, frequent urination, foul-smelling urine, blood in urine, pain during urination, and pain in the abdomen, groin, lower back, or side.

3. Tophaceous gout

Those who have high levels of uric acid in their blood for a prolonged period can develop hard clumps of uric acid crystals known as tophi. Present around the joints, under the skin, and in the curve of the ears, tophi can make the joint pain worse over time, compressing the nerves and damaging the joints. 

What are the Normal Uric Acid Levels?

To prevent the development of the aforementioned issues, it’s essential to keep your uric acid levels in check. You can either get a uric acid test or an Kidney Function Test done to determine the levels of uric acid in your blood.

Normal uric acid levels range from 3.5 mg/dL to 7.2 mg/dL. However, the normal range can vary from laboratory to laboratory, therefore, your doctor will be able to interpret these values. Usually, high uric acid levels are as follows:

  • For men: Over 7 mg/dL
  • For women: Over 6 mg/dL

Causes of Abnormal Uric Acid Levels

Higher than normal uric acid levels can be caused by:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Purine-rich diet
  • Excessive exercise
  • Lead poisoning
  • Medullary cystic kidney disease
  • Renal failure
  • Toxemia of pregnancy

While very rare, low uric acid levels can be caused by one or more of the following reasons:

  • Hereditary diseases of metabolism
  • Low purine diet
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) secretion
  • Use of medications such as losartan, fenofibrate, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

5 Ways to Reduce Uric Acid Levels?

Those suffering from high uric acid levels can rectify the problem by making some simple lifestyle changes. These include:

1. Reducing the Consumption of Purine-rich Food

You can reduce the amount of uric acid in your diet by cutting out purine-rich foods like seafood, some kinds of meat, and certain vegetables. Some foods to avoid include:

  • Organ meat
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish

2. Limit Sugar Intake

While elevated uric acid levels are usually associated with the consumption of protein-rich foods, sugar intake can also be a contributing factor. You can take the following steps to cut down your sugar intake:

  • Restrict packaged and processed foods
  • Include more whole foods in the diet
  • Consume fresh fruits to quench sugar cravings
  • Check labels on packages for added sugar
  • Replace sugar drinks with coffee, green tea, or fresh fruit juices

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water or other fluids can help your kidneys eliminate uric acid faster. Try to carry a water bottle wherever you go. You can also set alarms for every hour to remind yourself to take a couple of sips.

4. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol consumption causes dehydration, which can increase uric acid levels. Moreover, some kinds of alcoholic beverages like beer contain a high amount of purines. Also, alcohol boosts the metabolism of nucleotides, which is a source of purines. 

5. Lose weight

Obesity is another contributing factor to increased uric acid levels. Being overweight increases the production of uric acid and reduces its excretion through urine. 

Having higher or lower levels of uric acid in the blood can be harmful to your overall health and well-being. If in doubt, consult with a doctor. There is a simple blood test you can get done to check whether your uric acid levels need to be managed. 

Book A Uric Acid Test

If you need expert advice, 

Consult A Nephrologist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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