High levels of this substance can cause serious illness. Being able to detect its symptoms and treat it on time is crucial.
Medical Advisor Jorge Enrique Vivas, Physician, specialist in internal medicine,
practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
While it does not get as much attention as diabetes, its health impacts can be equally as devastating if it is not treated properly. If someone is suffering from joint pain, kidney damage (such as kidney stones and inflammation) or cardiovascular problems, one of the causes could be high uric acid levels in the body.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines,” which are found in proteins, especially red meats and beer. They are also found in liver, anchovies and dried beans and peas.
According to the above source, most uric acid dissolves in the blood and travels to the kidneys. It then exits the body through urine. Some people’s bodies produce too much of it, leading to what is called hyperuricemia, which can cause someone to become ill. See also Gout: inflammatory pain
What happens if uric acid levels get too high?
Dr. Jorge Enrique Vivas, a specialist in internal medicine, suggests getting your blood tested at a laboratory in order to determine if you have high uric acid levels in the blood. High levels of this substance are considered to occur when they pass 7.0 milligrams per deciliter in the blood (normal values range between 3.5 and 7.2 mg/dL).
Patients who are diabetic, obese or that have high blood pressure, should be aware of this condition’s symptoms, Dr. Vivas adds. Some people are also born with a metabolic birth defect that affects the purine enzyme, which prevents this acid from breaking down appropriately.
Warning signs of abnormal uric acid levels can be very different: joint pain (ankles, knees, elbows), kidney stones, or pain and inflammation in this region of the body. If there is not a high concentration of uric acid, then the patient may not even feel any pain.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels in the blood) may therefore be caused by metabolic acidosis (a condition where there is too much acid in the body), alcoholism, chemotherapy-related side effects, diabetes, over exercising, hypoparathyroidism, lead poisoning, leukemia, medullary cystic kidney disease and nephrolithiasis, among others.
In its advanced stages, gout can occur. Symptoms of gout include hyperuricemia, periodic episodes of severe arthritis, and in some situations, tophi (deposits of uric acid in the form of physical lumps under the skin, especially in the area around the joints).
Dr. Jorge Enrique Vivas states that there is not much awareness in Colombia about how to prevent high levels of uric acid in the blood. He believes that there is a greater focus on blood sugar and diabetes. He asserts that it is important to lead a balanced diet, and avoid the excess consumption of protein, especially red meats. He recommends leading a healthy lifestyle, staying physically active and by doing so, preventing obesity, which is one of the main causes of high uric acid levels.