What Is Hyperuricemia ?
When the level of uric acid becomes very high in the blood, the condition is known as hyperuricemia. Usually, the normal uric acid levels in the body are 3.4-7.0 mg/dL in men and 2.4-6.0 mg/dL in women. Typically, the excess uric acid goes into the bloodstream and gets flushed out from the body via urine or it passes through the intestines in order to stabilize the normal uric acid levels.
Uric acid levels are also controlled by the compounds which contain nitrogen known as purines. These are either endogenous (manufactured by the cells in the body) or exogenous that come from purine-containing foods. These purines help to break down the uric acid in the bloodstream.
Hyperuricemia by itself is not a disease; however, if the levels of uric acid are very high for prolonged periods, it can lead to many diseases. High levels of uric acid due to excess purine levels accumulate in the tissues and form crystals. Hyperuricemia can cause various types of diseases including gout, which is a very painful form of arthritis (where the uric acid crystals collect in the joints of the fingers and toes). High uric acid levels also cause other health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperuricemia ?
Only 1/3rd of the people with hyperuricemia may experience symptoms. It may not cause any symptoms at all and this is called symptomatic hyperuricemia.
Symptoms of hyperuricemia may be characterized by redness, swelling, warmth and sporadic joint paint. Other symptoms may be:
- Severe pain in the joint, redness and swelling that usually starts at night after consuming foods that are high in purines, medications that elevate uric acid levels and alcoholic beverages.
- Mostly, the swelling and other problems occur only in one joint, especially at the base of the large toe. The other joints that can be affected are wrists, elbows, knee, ankle, heel, and foot.
These attacks can last for days or weeks.
What Are The Causes Of Hyperuricemia ?
There are 2 types of hyperuricemia: primary hyperuricemia and secondary hyperuricemia
Primary hyperuricemia occurs due to:
- Increased production of uric acid by the body due to purines.
- The kidneys cannot flush out the uric acid from the blood causing high levels of uric acid.
Secondary hyperuricemia is caused due to:
- Some cancers or chemotherapy medications
- Kidney disease
- Metabolic or endocrine ailments (acidosis or diabetes)
Risk factors related to hyperuricemia are:
- Alcohol consumption
- Medications, especially for heart disease
- Exposure to lead, pesticide
- High blood pressure, kidney disease
- High blood sugar, obesity, hypothyroidism
- Extreme physical activity
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Hyperuricemia ?
- Reduce purines in your diet if you suffer from hyperuricemia.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water (drink at least 10-12 glasses of fluids in a day).
- Have a healthy and regular exercise routine and maintain a healthy weight.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Hyperuricemia ?
- Avoid medications like loop diuretics such as Lasix or furosemide, thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, aspirin more than 3 grams in a day, niacin etc., as these can cause the uric acid levels to become very high and worsen the condition of hyperuricemia.
What Are The Best Foods For Hyperuricemia ?
- Including plenty of fiber in your diet can help to reduce the levels of uric acid in your body. Have foods such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oats, potatoes, etc. All these foods help to absorb and eliminate the uric acid from your body.
- Vegetables like pumpkin, broccoli, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc, help to reduce high uric acid levels and also keeps the level under control.
- Add foods that are rich in vitamin C to your diet such as bell peppers, tomatoes, berries, citrus fruits, etc. Having around 500 mg of vitamin C every day can help to lower the uric acid levels.
- Berries such as cherries, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry have anti-inflammatory properties and help to reduce uric acid levels. They also help to prevent the uric acid from forming crystals and being deposited in the joints causing joint pain.
- Fruits are excellent to prevent the uric acid levels from rising, especially tomatoes, oranges, bananas, pears, apples.
- Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidants and prevent enzyme production. Both cucumbers and carrots are rich in fiber and help to reduce high uric acid levels.
- Dark chocolate contains the alkaloid compound theobromine that can help to reduce high uric acid levels in the blood.
- Add dairy products such as low-fat or skim milk, etc. as they help to prevent the reabsorption of the uric acid into the body and also helps in eliminating it effectively.
- Healthy fats like olive oil have vitamin E that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce the level of uric acid.
What Are The Worst Foods For Hyperuricemia ?
- Avoid vegetables like peas, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, etc, .as they can cause high uric acid levels.
- Avoid refined cereals such as white bread, white pasta, refined flour, cakes, tapioca, etc. as these worsen the condition of hyperuricemia.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they increase the uric acid levels, prevent the elimination of uric acid from the body and worsen the condition of hyperuricemia.
- Avoid fish such as shellfish, mackerels, sardines, herring, anchovies, mussels, etc. as they are very high in purines and aggravate the condition of hyperuricemia.
- Avoid eating meats such as pork, beef, mutton, organ meats like liver, etc. as they cause high levels of uric acid.
- Avoid eating foods that include baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast as they make the condition of hyperuricemia worse.
- Avoid foods and beverages that are high in sugar, especially if they are sweetened using fructose corn syrup as they worsen the condition of hyperuricemia.
What Are The Medicines For Hyperuricemia ?
What Are The Tips To Manage Hyperuricemia ?
Some home remedies to control uric acid levels and control the condition of hyperuricemia are:
- Having green tea can help to reduce the production of harmful enzymes in the body and also helps in reducing the levels of uric acid, as it contains catechin, which has excellent antioxidant properties.
- Apple cider vinegar is extremely effective for reducing the uric acid levels in the body as it contains malic acid. Mixing a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drinking it 2-3 times in a day can help to reduce the uric acid levels.
- Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and helps to neutralize the uric acid levels in the body. Having the juice of lemon with a glass of warm water every morning on an empty stomach can help to lower the uric acid levels.
- Having green papaya tea can help to regulate the uric acid level in the body. Green papaya contains the compound papain that maintains the alkaline state of the body and also acts as an inflammatory agent.
- Having 2 tablespoons of wheatgrass juice with the juice of 1 lemon can help to control uric acid levels. The vitamin C, chlorophyll, and phytochemicals in wheatgrass help to promote detoxification and also helps to control hyperuricemia.
- Sodium bicarbonate, also commonly known as baking soda, helps to maintain the alkaline balance in your body and helps to flush out the uric acid easily from the body. Mixing ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drinking it every 2-4 hours in a day for 2 weeks can help to reduce uric acid levels. However, you should not have this regularly if you suffer from high blood pressure.
- A very good remedy for reducing uric acid levels is having celery seed extract.