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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Uric Acid Levels

Uric acid and gout

A healthy body relies on normal uric acid levels.What is uric acid? Why do we worry about how much we have?  What can you do to keep your levels normal? This article will answer these questions and more.

1. What is uric acid?

It is a product that occurs after your body breaks down foods and cells.  Healthy kidneys filter out any excess. Uric acid then passed from your body through urine.

2. What uric acid levels are normal?  

Tests will signal abnormal uric acid levels in women that do not fall between 2.4 and 6.1 mg/dL.  Levels for men range from 3.4 - 7.2 mg/dL. (1)  The range of normal levels may change with some medical conditions.

3. Is it common to have high uric acid levels?

The majority of people with elevated uric acid levels do not experience symptoms.  This makes it difficult to reach a diagnosis in all cases that exist. The Mayo Clinic estimates one in five people have high levels of uric acid. (2)

3. Are high uric acid levels considered dangerous?

Yes, untreated high uric acid creates a list of conditions.  The most common is gout. A condition that causes painful joints due to crystals that build up at the site. Kidney disease or failure may also result from too much uric acid. Each of these conditions can lead to death.

4. Can high uric acid levels cause fatigue?

Yes.  When a gout flare up occurs some patients experience flu-like symptoms. These uric acid level symptoms may include muscle aches, high fever and fatigue. 

5. Can high uric acid levels cause weight gain?

No, high uric acid levels do not cause weight gain.  Yet, weight gain contributes to elevated uric acid.  Excess weight puts a strain on your organs. Kidneys function declines and uric acid is not flushed out of your body as well.

6. How do uric acid levels become high?

Most often it is due to poor kidney function. Hypothyroidism could raise your uric acid levels.  Use of niacin, vitamin B3, diuretics and purine rich foods. Genetics and psoriasis also influence it.  Excessive beer consumption is also a common cause for higher uric acid levels.

7. What foods increase uric acid levels?

Foods that have high levels of purine.  Meat, especially internal organs, are foods with high purine. Examples are kidney, liver, animal brains veal, ham, turkey, anchovies, sardines, scallops, game meats, and more.  The yeast in beer causes high purine levels.

8. What foods are good for lowering uric acid levels?

An improved diet will help relieve gout symptoms by lowering uric acid.  A “gout diet” includes nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Kelp, alfalfa, celery, and tart cherry are wonderful for lowering your levels.

Dairy products and whole grain breads are beneficial.  Cherries help to reduce inflammation associated with gout. (4) Baking soda is a fantastic addition to a diet high in purine.

Even in these healthy categories there are a few foods that may have moderate levels of purine.  If in doubt, check it out.

9. What lowers uric acid levels?

Begin by decreasing the amount of purine rich foods you eat.  Limit the amount of beer you drink. Increase your water intake to help your kidneys flush out the uric acid.  Change your diet to include more foods that are low in purine. If you have excess weight consider adding exercise to your lifestyle.