High Uric Acid or Gout – Time to Understand It Better
The high uric acid level is rapidly becoming a common abnormal finding on a routine test. It occurs more commonly in men. Usually, it affects men above 30 years and women typically get affected after menopause.
Why should we worry about high uric acid levels?
- About one third of patients with high uric acid levels may develop intense pain and redness of joint called Gout. Other conditions which may occur due to uric acid crystals are kidney stones and uric acid-associated kidney disease.
- High uric acid is itself associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and metabolic syndrome.
What is the cause of high uric acid levels?
High uric acid occurs when the body produces excessive uric acid by the breakdown of a chemical called Purine.
- Change in diet and lifestyle is the commonest cause of high uric acid level
- Diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, obesity, under functioning thyroid and high levels of cholesterol in the blood can also increase chances of developing gout.
- Sometimes rare genetic disorders can lead to very high uric acid levels.
- Other relatively rare causes include tumours, certain medications and vitamin deficiency.
How to treat or prevent gout or high uric acid changes?
1. Follow lifestyle changes:
- - Avoid foods containing high purine such as red meat, offal, oily fish, seafood and foods containing yeast extract.
- - Avoid sugary drinks.
- - Maintain a healthy weight
Diet- aim for a healthy balanced diet. Avoid crash diets or high-protein,
- low-carbohydrate diets.
Regular exercise – consider swimming if you have arthritis.
- - Drink plenty of water
- - Cut down on alcohol
2. Medical treatment
For acute gout (joint pain), treatment focuses on relieving intense joint pain followed by preventing future episodes with medications.
An asymptomatic high uric acid level greater than 8 mg/dl warrants further workup, lifestyle changes and medications.
Your doctor may consider medications such as Allopurinol and Febuxostat to prevent gout and lower uric acid levels. Medications should be taken under strict medical supervision.