Uric acid is a waste product from our human body, the excess of which causes medical problems like Gout. Gout is a disorder in which uric acid builds up in the blood and gets deposited in joints.
Gout causes painful inflammation in one or more joints. A gout attack typically causes pain, swelling, redness, and warmth (inflammation) in a single joint, usually the big toe.
Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Purines are found in our body’s tissues. They are also found in many foods we eat such as dried beans and peas and liver, for example. Uric acid normally dissolves in the blood, processes through the kidney, and leaves the body in the urine. When the body makes extra uric acid, or if the kidneys cannot clear enough of it, then uric acid levels in the blood hikes leading to hyperuricemia.
There are two main factors that lead to high amount of uric acid build up in the body.
- When the body makes too much of uric acid
- When the body finds it difficult to get rid of the uric acid
Gout is a condition which develops as concentrations of uric acid in the blood get so high resulting in the acid starting to solidify itself. This results in the formation of salt like crystals. When the concentration of uric acid gets as high as about 7 milligrams per deciliter and above, these crystals start getting formed.
In such cases, the excess uric acid crystals get deposited in the kidneys. This can form large stones there.
These stones are very painful and can cause permanent kidney damage. They can –
- Form an obstruction which prevents the kidneys from removing wastes resulting in infections
- Scar the kidneys as they have rough and sharp edges
Both these problems can lead to chronic kidney disease and even kidney failure.
Kidney stones are abnormal, hard, chemical deposits that form inside the kidneys. This condition also is called nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis. They are often as small as grains of sand and can pass out of the body in urine without causing discomfort.
However, the deposits can be much larger, sometimes the size of a pea or even a marble.
How to reduce Uric Acid levels in blood
The first step of treatment is to bring about a change in one’s eating habits.
- One must eat fresh fruits and vegetables and take a whole grain rich diet every day.
- Consumption of foods rich in purines like fatty red meats, poultry and seafood (tuna, codfish) must be reduced.
- Medium purine foods like shrimp, lobster vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms and green peas must be limited to a great extent.
- Alcohol must be avoided altogether as it increases risk for gout attack. Intake of water must be increased as it helps flush out the excess uric acid.
- Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water on a daily basis.
Consult your dietitian and doctor and get a customized diet plan as some purine rich foods are also good sources of proteins.
Preventing a repeat gout attack is very important as it leads to a higher risk of heart elated disorders.