High uric acid in your blood, causes and important tips to manage
Your body is in constant motion, 24-7. Even as you sleep, your blood flows, your brain fires away, and your gut digests that late-night snack. Whenever you eat something, your body pulls out the good stuff, such as proteinsand vitamins, and sends away the waste.
Typically, one of those waste products is uric acid. It’s formed when your body breaks down purines, which are found in some foods, but also show up when cells die and get taken apart. Most of the uric acid leaves your body when you pee, and some when you poop.
So if you have high levels of uric acid, it can be a sign of disease such as gout. That’s when you might need a uric acid blood test, which measures how much uric acid you have in your blood.
You may also hear this test called a serum uric acid test, serum urate, or UA.
• Uric acid is a chemical found in your blood
• High levels of uric acid inthe body can be detected through a blood test
• You should drink lots of water to flush out the excess uric acid
Being healthy is not for special occasions. It is a day to day challenge to fortify yourself from within. Good nutrition is as important as cultivating certain healthy habits to reduce your risk of falling prey to some of the chronic lifestyle diseases that are becoming increasingly common. With our hectic schedules and convenient choices, having high levels of uric acid is one such problem that many of you could face. Uric acid is a chemical found in your blood which is created when a substance called purine is broken down in your body. Purine is found in foods like peas, spinach, anchovies, mushrooms, dried beans and even beer. Most of the uric acid formed in the body dissolves in the blood and is excreted through the kidneys. If your body if producing too much uric acid or is not able to remove enough of it, it may lead to hyperuricemia. High levels of uric acid in the body can be detected through a blood test.
Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood explains this simply, “The three important components of food are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. After the proteins get metabolised the end product formed is uric acid which is removed from the body through urine. People who are obese or over weight may also produce more uric which often gets accumulated in the lower body.”
High levels of uric acid in your body can cause several problems. It leads to the formation of solid crystals within the joints which causes a painful condition called gout. It may also cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure in severe cases. The amount of uric acid in your body can be detected through a simple blood test and therefore, it’s important to have regular check-ups.
The normal range of uric acid in your body is 3.4 to 7 mg/dL for men and 2.4 to 6 mg/dL for women.
Dr. Sood suggests, “You should drink lots of water to flush out the excess uric acid from the body. Also, eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Here Are Some Home Remedies May Help You Control High Levels Of Uric Acid:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix one teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink this every day. Apple cider vinegar acts like a natural cleanser and detoxifier. It contains malic acid which helps in breaking down and removing uric acid from the body. Apples also contain malic acid and you should eat at least one a day.
2.Lime juice: Ayuveda Expert Dr. B.N Sinha suggests that you should drink lime water at least twice a day to flush out the excess uric acid. Lime contains citric acid which helps in dissolving the uric acid. You should also eat foods rich in Vitamin C like amla, guavaand oranges.
3. Eat antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables: A study conducted by University of Maryland suggests that you should load up on more antioxidant rich berries like cherries, blueberries and strawberries. Dark coloured berries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that help in reducing inflammation and stiffness. Alkaline foods like tomatoes and bell peppers also help in balancing the acid levels in your body.
4. Celery seeds: Celery seeds are rich in Omega-6 fatty acids and other diuretic oils. As a powerful diurectic, it helps in cleaning the system of excess liquids by stimulating the kidneys to flush out the uric acid. It alkalizes your blood and also lowers inflammation in the body. You can take half teaspoon of dried celery seeds once a day but remember to have plenty of water with it.
5. High fibre-foods: The same study conducted by University of Maryland also recommends that you should add more high-fibre foods to your diet in order to control the level of uric acid in blood. Dietary fibre absorbs the excess uric acid in your blood and helps it to get eliminated from your body. Oats, bananas and grains like jowar and bajra are good sources of soluble fibre.
Why Would I Need It?
Your doctor can use this test to help find out if you have:
Gout: This is a form of arthritis where crystals from uric acid form in your joints and cause intense pain. You often feel it in your big toe, but can get it in your ankles, feet, hands, knees, and wrists, as well. It can also cause swelling, redness, and discomfort in those joints, and may limit your range of motion.
Kidney stones: These are little, hard masses — like small stones — that form in your kidneys when you have too much uric acid. They may cause severe pain in your lower back that comes and goes, blood in your urine, throwing up, upset stomach, and an urgent need to pee.
High uric acid level during chemo or radiation: These treatments kill a lot of cells in your body, which can raise the level of uric acid. The test is used to check that your level doesn’t get too high.
You can also have a low level of uric acid, but your doctor would typically order other tests to look into what’s causing that.
How Do I Get Ready for the Test?
Typically, you don’t need to do anything special. In some cases, your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything for 4 or more hours before the test. Your doctor will also let you know if you need to stop taking any medicines.
Make sure to tell your doctor about any medicines, herbs, and supplements you take, including over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs. Any of these, including medications that make you pee more often (diuretics), vitamin B-3, and aspirin, can affect your results.
How’s the Test Done?
This test is a basic blood draw and takes just a few minutes. A lab tech will:
• Clean the skin where the needle goes in
• Wrap a rubber strap around your upper arm — this creates pressure to make your veins swell with blood
• Put a thin needle into a vein, usually on the inside of your arm at your elbow or in the back of your hand
• Draw the blood
• Remove the rubber strap and put a bandage on your arm or hand
Are There Any Risks?
Typically, you’ll feel a prick when the needle goes in. That’s usually the worst of it, but since you’re having your blood drawn, there’s a very slight chance of problems such as:
• Bleeding or bruising
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
What Does the Result Mean?
The test tells you how much uric acid is in your blood.
It measures the uric acid in milligrams (mg) and the blood in deciliters (dL), so you’ll see a number with units of mg/dL.
What’s a normal range varies with different labs, so check with your doctor to help you understand your result. You usually get results in 1 to 2 days, but it depends on your lab.
Generally, your uric acid level is high when:
• For females, it’s over 6 mg/dL
• For males, it’s over 7 mg/dL
High levels could be a sign of many conditions, including gout, kidney disease, and cancer. But it could be higher than normal because you eat foods with a lot of purines. That includes dried beans or certain fish such as anchovies, mackerel, and sardines.
Usually, your doctor will order other tests at the same time to track down what’s causing your symptoms. Your doctor will then help you understand what all your results mean and what your next steps are.
What Other Tests Might I Need?
Based on your symptoms and what your doctor’s looking for, you may get:
• More tests for gout, including one where they take fluid from the joint with symptoms
• Urinalysis, a urine test that looks for more signs of kidney stones, including blood, white blood cells, and crystals in your pee
If you don’t seem to have gout or kidney stones, your doctor may order more blood or urine tests to look into what else might be triggering high uric acid levels.