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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.

Uric Acid Build Up in the Body


Uric Acid Build Up in the Body

It is still unclear to many people as to what high level of uric acid can do to your body. Excess uric acid in your blood is referred to as hyperuricemia and its byproduct in the body is uric acid. This is formed when nitrogen-based compounds like purine are digested during metabolism. Uric acid, which is soluble in water usually, finds its way out of the body through urine.

Obviously, an increased level of uric acid is not a good indication of your health. Purine, which is also produced in the body, is derived from various food sources. High levels of uric acid in some people can be attributed to genetics while in others; it can be as a result of consuming foods that contain a lot of purine. Patients suffering from hypothyroidism including those with obesity are likely to experience high levels of uric acid.


Excess uric acid in the blood can cause serious health complications such as developing gout. Arthritis, which is another kind of gout, is also a common affliction to people with high uric acid in their blood. What happens is that crystallized form of uric acid begins to accumulate in and around the joints thus causing some inflammation. It usually affects the joints around the big toe and progresses to attack the ankles, knees, wrists and elbows.

Symptoms related to gout include pain in the joints, stiffening and swelling of the skin especially around the knees. If the buildup of uric acid is too much you begin to see pus oozing out of painful sores around the affected areas. Gout can be very severe sometimes disabling free movement of the joints and in some cases, it might cause permanent deformity.

Victims of high uric acid in their blood also risk contracting atherosclerosis. This is a condition that causes clogging of various arteries in your body due to plaque deposits. This inhibits the free flow of blood through them and as a result, the patient develops heart ailments and high blood pressure. This condition can affect anyone including people without the medical background that’s associated with heart disease problems.

Kidney stones that are found inside the kidneys come about due to excessive concentration of uric acid in the urine. In severe cases, this condition may lead to serious damage to the kidneys which might cease to function altogether. Kidney failure means the body cannot be able to rid off unwanted waste material. Damaged kidneys bring about a host of other complications. For one, it will mean lack of erythropoietin which is produced by the kidney and is responsible for producing red blood cells. Indeed, it leads to a life-threatening situation.

Chances of developing diabetes when you have high uric acid levels are high. Diabetes mellitus is commonly associated with increased sugar levels in the blood. If diabetes goes unchecked, it may trigger an avalanche of secondary complications in the body. Diabetes alone can interfere with normal functioning or various organs in the body. Dreadful effects of diabetes include blindness, partial visual impairment or having part of your body amputated.

High levels of uric acid in the blood can be reduced below 7.0mg/dL. Visit your doctor and ask to know your uric acid level. If it is high, the doctor would advise you on the type of diet to follow. Avoid foods that are rich in purine. Examples include eggs, mushroom, alcohol, beverages fatty fish and meat. Foods with no or less purine comprise nuts, cherries, raw vegetables, peanut butter and many others.