Hyperuricemia is a condition that forms when there is an excess level of uric acid in the blood.
Normally uric acid is processed by the kidneys and then expelled from the body via urine. However, when the body is unable to remove enough uric acid or if the body produces too much uric acid, then these high levels can begin to build, resulting in hyperuricemia.
Hyperuricemia isn’t dangerous on its own and rarely produces symptoms. However, hyperuricemia can lead to gout, which is when needle-like crystals of uric acid begin to deposit themselves into the body’s joints, tendons and tissue. Some people also experience fever, chills, fatigue and problems with urination.
Causes of high uric acid levels in the blood include:
- Eating foods high in purines (purines break down into uric acid)
- Drinking alcohol
- Carrying extra weight or being obese
- Certain cancers
- Kidney disease
- Taking certain medications, including Levodopa, Cyclosporine, niacin (a vitamin), aspirin, and some diuretics
- Lesch-Nyham syndrome/Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome, a condition in which the body doesn’t have the enzyme that breaks down uric acid
Though the numbers vary from lab to lab, normal uric acid levels are usually 2.4-6.0 mg/dL for women and 3.4-7.0 mg/dL for men.
You can prevent hyperuricemia by keeping your uric acid levels low. Ways to achieve this include eating a diet low in purines (which means avoiding steak, seafood, all organ meats, alcohol and some vegetables), drinking lots of water, engaging in regular physical activity and refraining from smoking.
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