Uric acid is a waste product of the body that is produced as a result of breakdown of a chemical substance called purine in the body. Most part of the uric acid dissolves in the bloodstream. The leftover amount of the uric acid passes through the kidneys and becomes a part of the urinary waste. Some parts may be excreted out in the stool.

In this article, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions about uric acid such as:

  1. What causes high uric acid levels in the body?
  2. How can I reduce uric acid in my body?
  3. What foods are high in uric acid?
  4. What do uric acid levels indicate?
  5. What is gout?
  6. What are the symptoms of gout?
  7. What are the treatment options for gout?

What causes high uric acid levels in the body?

Uric acid level in the body can increase due to two reasons. Production of uric acid is increased or the excretion from the body is decreased.

Increased production can occur due to purine-rich diet or increased cell breakdown.

The decreased excretion can occur due to kidneys not performing well.

People with obesity, people who drink heavily, and diabetic patients are more likely to have higher levels of uric acid.

How can I reduce uric acid in my body?

Uric acid level can be controlled in the body by limiting the use of purine rich food, managing weight along with maintaining insulin in the body, cutting out sugars and reducing the use of alcohol.

What foods are high in uric acid?

Purines are present in both plant based foods such as spinach, broccoli, dried beans and mushrooms.

The animal sources of purine rich food include red meat, seafood such as sardines, tuna, prawns and mussels.

Bacon, venison and organ meat can also have high levels of purine and should be avoided while having high levels of uric acid.

Alcohol also increases the quantity of uric acid in the body, so avoid alcohol if you are controlling the purine level.

What do uric acid levels indicate?

A high level of uric acid in the blood indicates that the body is either overproducing purines or the kidneys are not working properly to flush them out of the system.

What is gout?

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs due to high levels of uric acid in the body.

It is characterized by painful swelling of joints especially the big toe due to the crystal accumulation of uric acid on the joints.

What are the symptoms of gout?

Gout can affect a person in the form of gout attack. A swollen, painful, tender, hot and red joint is the symptom of gout.

It can start suddenly even when a patient is sleeping and can be as uncomfortable as to wake the person up.

What are the treatment options for gout?

The pain management during gout involves non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The drug that can control the level of uric acid is known as allopurinol which is a prescription drug.

Other than drugs, lifestyle changes such as low purine foods and weight reduction are helpful in the treatment of gout.