One of the fastest-rising and most common medical conditions worldwide is gout. Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men (5-27 per 1000 men) Three Indian studies indicate that about 65% of patients are from the middle socioeconomic class. The prevalence of gout appears to be increasing, although public awareness about the condition is extremely poor. Gout has a familial predisposition in about one-sixth of cases, and certain genetic factors are a significant risk for the development of gout. One of the underlying diagnostics finding associated with gout is high uric acid.
Uric acid is a chemical compound that is produced as a byproduct of the breakdown of purines, which are natural substances found in the body and in certain foods. Purines are found in foods like organ meats, seafood, and some types of vegetables. Uric acid is normally dissolved in the blood and then excreted from the body through urine.
It is normal to have low levels of uric acid in the blood. In most cases, the body is able to regulate uric acid levels effectively. However, sometimes there can be imbalances that lead to higher-than-normal levels of uric acid in the blood, a condition known as hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia can have several causes:
- Diet: Consuming a diet high in purine-rich foods can lead to elevated uric acid levels. (Red meat, organ meats like liver, seafood like salmon, shrimp, lobster, Food and drinks with high fructose corn syrup Alcohol (especially beer, including nonalcoholic beer)
- Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to produce more uric acid or have difficulty excreting it efficiently.
- Kidney Function: Impaired kidney function can result in decreased uric acid excretion, leading to its accumulation in the blood.
- Medical Conditions: Conditions like gout, where uric acid crystals can form in joints and cause inflammation and pain, are associated with high uric acid levels. Other conditions, like kidney stones, can also be related to high uric acid.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as diuretics and immunosuppressants, affect uric acid levels by altering its excretion.
- Obesity: Being overweight is associated with higher levels of uric acid.
Signs of hyperuricemia
Complications associated with hyperuricemia
Hyperuricemia can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals, which can form kidney stones. These crystals can also settle in the joints and cause a condition known as gout, a very painful form of arthritis. It is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. The most common joint involved is the base of the big toe in the foot, but other joints can also get involved. Untreated high uric acid levels can lead to permanent bone, joint, and tissue damage and affect sleep, mental health, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Complications associated with hyperuricemiaHyperuricemia can lead to the formation of uric acid crystals, which can form kidney stones. These crystals can also settle in the joints and cause a condition known as gout, a very painful form of arthritis. It is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. The most common joint involved is the base of the big toe in the foot, but other joints can also get involved. Untreated high uric acid levels can lead to permanent bone, joint, and tissue damage and affect sleep, mental health, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Tests and diagnosis
- A uric acid test can be done as a blood test commonly. Uric acid tests are common in annual checkups.In case someone has the above-mentioned signs, they can get a health check-up done and consult a doctor.
- There are blood tests, joint fluid analysis, X-rays, scans, etc. to diagnose gout.
Line of treatment
- Consult a doctor in cases of inflammation and severe joint pain.
- Medication (if indicated) has been taken only on the advice of the medical practitioner.
How to reduce excess Uric acid in the body
As long as the person is asymptomatic, no treatment is needed. But if the uric acid level is very high, following changes needs to incorporate in daily lifestyle
- Consume lots of fruits and vegetables. Add these food items to your diet.
- Tomatoes help regulate the level of uric acid. By consuming it daily, you can avoid the problem of arthritis as well. Tomatoes contain many antioxidants. It also contains a very small amount of purine, which helps bring the uric acid level to normal.
- Lemon juice is also effective in controlling the amount of uric acid. It dissolves uric acid in itself and helps get it out of the body. For this, you must drink a glass of lemonade before eating your meal.
- Olive oil can also help control the amount of uric acid in the body. Whenever you cook, try to use only olive oil. It has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce uric acid levels in the body.
- Green Tea: In addition to weight loss, green tea controls the amount of uric acid in your body. If you drink one cup of green tea daily, it will not allow uric acid levels in your body to rise. Other fruits and vegetables that can be included in a diet are bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, strawberries, cherries, amla, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, flex seeds, raisins etc.
- Avoid taking vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, and kidney beans.
- In cases of familial history, avoid red meat, fish rich in purines, and alcohol.
- Avoid fatty foods and processed foods.
- Manage obesity. A high BMI could cause elevated uric acid levels. To maintain optimal weight, exercise daily and follow a healthy diet. A daily brisk walk for 30 minutes is recommended.
- Drink plenty of liquid, especially water, and limit sugary drinks.
Maintain adequate urinary output (>2,000 ml daily) to help prevent kidney stones