Are you worried about your Hyperuricemia?
The cause of high levels of uric acid in the system can be wide ranging and varied, from simple lifestyle choices like a diet with plenty of rich foods or excessive alcohol intake to diuretics, medication, water pills used to treat high blood pressure or vitamins and minerals like niacin and vitamin B-3. It could also be a symptom of an undiagnosed, underlying condition called hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. A common problem associated with uric acid build up is gout, a type of arthritis where uric acid crystals settle in the joints causing sudden and severe joint pain and swelling. It can occur in any joint but commonly affects the big toe. You may notice swelling, redness and heat in the affected area and intense pain that may make it difficult to wear socks or shoes.
If you are suffering from an episode of gout it may take up to a week for the symptoms to pass. If you suffer from regular bouts of gout, you may eventually suffer from damage to the joint or increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are lumps usually found in the kidneys or urethra, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. They can vary significantly in size from a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball, but they can cause fever, a urinary tract infection, blood in the urine and severe pain, that comes and goes making you feel sick. While smaller kidney stones can be passed out of the body during urination, larger stones may need medical intervention to break them up or surgical removal.
If you are suffering from a build up of uric acid in the system that has resulted in you developing gout in one or more of your joints then the severity of your pain will likely dictate your need to take pain relief tablets or gels, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen. It will benefit you to take the weight off the joint and rest, if your problem is in your leg then elevate the limb too. An ice pack placed gently on the affected area for approximately 20 minutes, will help to relieve some of the pain and reduce the swelling. Remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water as this will help to prevent kidney stones from forming which, can lead to a very serious kidney infection. Check out the list below for steps you can take to prevent future attacks of gout and improve your quality of life in the mean time.
- Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet
- Avoid purine rich foods and drinks including offal, seafood, and beer
- Avoid drinking alcohol, especially beer that is rich in purine
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated
- Do not smoke
- Try to stay active, exercising regularly
- Increase the vitamin C in your diet with citrus fruits or take supplements to boost your levels
Uric acid build up in the blood can occur because of a wide range of different causes, the treatment that your doctor may recommend will therefore depend heavily upon your individual diagnosis. Some conditions like gout, while painful will likely be experienced temporarily and can often be prevented with easy lifestyle changes. However, if you have been suffering from a kidney stone and that blocks your ureter, the tube that connect the kidney to the bladder it can cause an infection from the build-up of bacteria, causing kidney failure, a very serious condition. The symptoms for kidney failure are similar to kidney stones, except that you may also experience diarrhoea, feel weak and tired, or you may notice that your urine smells very bad. It is important to consult a doctor promptly if you think you have developed these symptoms.
- Diuretics (water retention relievers)
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Genetics (inherited tendencies)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Immune-suppressing drugs
- Purine-rich diet — liver
- Tumor lysis syndrome (a rapid release of cells into the blood caused by certain cancers or by chemotherapy for those cancers)