Understanding Hyperuricemia: Causes and Symptoms

What is Hyperuricemia?

Hyperuricemia is a condition when the uric acid level in the blood rises abnormally. The normal levels of uric acid are a bit different between male and female. The normal range for female is 2.4-6.0 mg/dL, and for the male it is 3.4-7.0 mg/dL.  Uric acid is the final product of purine metabolism in human beings, so purine also plays important role in the development of hyperuricemia. There are two sources of purines: inside and outside your body. Purines are produced endogenously (inside the cells of your body), but they also come from foods containing purines. Sometimes, the body produces more uric acid than it is able to excrete. The elevated levels of uric acid from excess purines may accumulate in your tissues, and form crystals.

5-herbs-that-help-to-remove-the-uric-acid-that-causes-arthritisApproximately 70% of the urate produced daily is excreted by the kidneys, while the rest is eliminated by the intestines. Hyperuricemia can be triggered by a deficiency of the hepatic enzyme, uricase (an enzyme occurring in the liver and kidneys that breaks down uric acid), and a lower fractional excretion of uric acid. There are also several factors that affects hyperuricemia, including genetics, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, kidney problems, diet (high intake of dietary purine as well as fructose), use of diuretics (substances that encourage urination), and alcohol intake.

In general, hyperuricemia is caused by three things: increased production of uric acid, decreased excretion of uric acid, and mixed type. The increased purine metabolism and high levels of purine in the diet can increase the production of uric acid. Fasting or rapid weight loss can temporarily elevate uric acid levels. Certain diseases (like kidney disease and certain forms of diabetes), medications, and competition for excretion between uric acid and other molecules may decrease the excretion of uric acid. While the mixed causes (both increasing production and decreasing excretion of uric acid) include excessive alcohol intake, high dietary intake of fructose, and starvation.

What are the symptoms of Hyperuricemia?

If you have certain forms of cancer, and your uric acid levels are elevated (caused by tumor lysis syndrome), you may have fever, chills, and fatigue. An inflammation of a joint (called gout) may occur if the uric acid crystals deposit in one of your joints. You may also have kidney problems (caused by formation of kidney stones), or problems with urination. However, it is also possible that patients with hyperuricemia may not experience any symptoms (also called asymptomatic hyperuricemia). Many people are unaware they have high blood uric acid before being attacked by gout.

Does hyperuricemia always lead to a higher risk of gout? Though an increased uric acid level in the blood may indicate a higher risk of gout, the relationship between hyperuricemia and gout is still unclear. Apparently only a small portion of hyperuricemia patients will actually develop gout. In the other hand, some patients with normal or low blood uric acid levels experience repeated gout attacks.


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