Gout as Affected by Uric Acid Levels

by Support on February 19, 2011

The following article explores the relationship between uric acid levels and gout. Read on to know which foods affect the uric acid levels and trigger joint pain, one of the main symptoms of gout.

High uric acid levels in blood lead to crystallization of the acid and when these crystals get deposited in joints in extremities, the person experiences severe pain, especially in one of the foot joints. The condition is medically termed as gout which is a type of arthritis. If the condition is overlooked or neglected, the crystal deposits in the joints or nearby tissues can turn into hard lumps. These lumps are referred to as tophi. Since there exists a direct relationship between uric acid levels and gout symptoms, let us first take a look at what are normal levels of uric acid and what are gout symptoms.

Uric Acid Levels in Blood

The normal uric acid level range is 3.0 – 7.0 mg/dL (milligram per deciliter). Uric acid in the body is formed during purine metabolism and is thrown out of the body through urine. If the body is not able to excrete the uric acid through urine (kidney not working properly), or if the body is producing excessive uric acid, then high uric acid levels are noticed. Such levels can affect the health of the person seriously. Purines, the nitrogenous compounds, are naturally present in various types of foods, for example, in mushrooms, green peas, wheat bran, meat products, and fish. A person diagnosed with gout needs to avoid purine rich foods.

Low uric acid levels are rarely noticed. Diseases of the kidney or liver, frequent exposure to toxic chemicals and genetic disposition (hereditary defects) are usually responsible for low uric acid levels.

Crystallization of uric acid takes place when the level rises above 6.8 mg/dL (0.40 mmol/L). So, uric acid level above 6.8 mg/dL is considered as dangerous. Those who are already diagnosed with gout, need to maintain a uric acid level of around 6 mg/dL (0.35 mmol/L). Uric acid level below 6 is obviously safe, but 6 to 6.8 is considered as risky and above 6.8 is really harmful to the body.

Uric acid level can be measured with a simple blood test known as uric acid test. The condition wherein high uric acid levels are noticed is called ‘hyperuricemia’ and such a situation is possible if a person has developed gout, diabetes, hypoparathyroidism, renal problems, lead poisoning. High uric acid levels are also noticed as a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Every year, millions of youngsters and elderly are diagnosed with gout. Since an increase in uric acid levels in blood is responsible for gout, let us now take a look at gout symptoms.

Gout Symptoms

An increase in normal uric acid levels and gout attack go hand in hand. Overload of uric acid in blood results in formation and deposition of uric acid crystals in joints, especially in foot. Gout symptoms include:

Extreme pain in the small joint at the base of the big toe

Severe pain in joints at the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows

Rreddened skin at the affected joint

Increased tenderness at the affected joint

Fever, warmth and swelling around the affected joint.

Pain is experienced over hours or days.

The pain may subside without medication but it will take its own time

Sudden occurrence of pain and swelling

Repetitive acute attacks of pain and swelling

Difficulty bending the leg if the knee is paining

Difficulty walking

To prevent high uric acid levels and gout, you should follow a gout prevention diet. Meat, seafood, legumes, certain vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, alcohol, are listed under gout foods to avoid. Overweight people should try to reduce their weight by following weight loss diets. This helps reduce the number of attacks and also the severity of the attacks. Natural gout treatment involves regular exercise, sufficient intake of vitamin C through consumption of fruits and fruit juices, soaking your feet in ginger water for half an hour, applying a paste of mustard powder and whole wheat powder (taken in equal proportion) over the achy joints and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Cherries, apples and bananas work great for gout. You may refer to another buzzle article natural remedies for gout for more information.

I hope this article helps you understand the relationship between uric acid levels and gout. Gout can affect anybody, young or old; but it is more common in men. Women have an increased risk of gout after menopause. Dehydration, injury, high body temperature, heavy meals, excessive consumption of alcohol, recent trauma or surgery can trigger gout attack. Gout being a chronic, progressive disease, long-term management of the disease plays an important role in preventing future gout attacks.

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