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What is Uric Acid?


What is uric acid?

Uric Acid formation:

When purines are broken down in the body, a substance called uric acid is released into the bloodstream. There are purines naturally found in the body as well as those that are present in certain food items. The liver breaks down these purines and produces uric acid.

Uric acid, as well as its salts, aren’t easily soluble. Hot water comparatively dissolves uric acid better than cold water. Also, the acid and its salts aren’t soluble in alcohol. In such cases, they crystallize easily.

What does it do?

Uric acid is an almost inert by-product of the metabolic decomposition of purines. And uric acid generally doesn’t have much significance. But to some extent, it acts as an antioxidant. It also helps protect the blood vessel linings from damage. Thus, maintaining normal levels of uric acid in the body is essential.

In ideal cases, the uric acid is filtered out from the blood in the kidneys and sent out of the body.

Causes for irregularities in uric acid levels:

The reasons why uric acid levels in the blood might be high are:

  • A diet that has higher levels of purine
  • Sudden increase in the purine levels in the body
  • Kidney problems due to which uric acid release from the bloodstream is disrupted
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excess breakdown of purines due to some health conditions

Lower levels of uric acid could be due to deficiency of purines in the body or other health conditions like Wilson disease, Fanconi Syndrome etc.

Effects of increased levels of uric acid:

High levels of uric acid in the bloodstream might sometimes go unnoticed. But in many cases, they can lead to other health hazards. When a person undergoes chemotherapy or medication for treating any form of cancer, his blood might be screened for detecting the uric acid levels.

Few of the most common effects of uric acid excess levels in blood are:

The condition where the uric acid levels in the body are higher than the normal values is called hyperuricemia, in addition to this many people who suffer from this suffer from gout and kidney stone.


Gout is the most common effect of untreated prolonged hyperuricemia. This occurs when the excess uric acids that remain in the bloodstream unfiltered by the kidney, they begin to crystallize in the joints. These sharp prickly crystals hurt the muscles around the joints like wrist, elbow, knees and more. This causes excruciating pain and swelling, reddening, itchiness and other symptoms.

Kidney stones:

If the uric acid crystallizes and gets deposited within the kidney, those are called kidney stones. Kidney stones of various sizes might accumulate within the kidney and make it a painful condition of the patient. One who has had an occurrence of kidney stone once in his life is more prone to get it again.

Besides gout and kidney stones, hyperuricemia might also lead to metabolic acidosis and several other health ailments. So keep a check on the amount of purine in your diet; if you are in doubt, get your blood uric acid levels tested immediately to target and cure hyperuricemia in the very initial stages.

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