4 Risk Factors of High Uric Acid

Do you experience a very bad pain and redness in your big toe? Is there some swelling along with the pain? Do your lab tests show high uric acid levels and the doctor gave you some medicine?

Mr Kumar has the same story. One day when he was back to his home from work, he suddenly had a severe pain in his right big toe. He thought that taking some rest from a busy day will resolve this and so he did as he thought. But when he woke up the next day, the pain increased a little bit and he had some redness and swelling along with it. Mr Kumar again let it go due to his busy work schedule. After a few days when the pain was not improving, Mr Kumar finally decided to consult a Doctor. His Doctor advised him to get some lab tests done. 

Mr Kumar being concerned about his health, did as he was advised. Next day, the results came and everything was normal except his uric acid was more than the normal range. After looking at the results, Mr Kumar got confused as he had no idea what exactly uric acid is? What caused this uric acid increase? And most importantly what to do to bring it back to normal? 

Mr Kumar discussed his health concerns with his Doctor and was prescribed a uric acid lowering medicine. He followed the right guidance from his Doctor and Nutritionist. With time and lifestyle modification, he was able to bring his uric acid level back to normal. He is very happy about his achievement and overall health improvement. Now he is continuing with those suggestions and living a better life.

Are you also confused as much as Mr Kumar was? Do you want to know how you can also improve your uric acid levels just like Mr Kumar did? Well, we have all the answers to your questions so please continue reading…

What is Uric Acid?

Uric acid is the end product of a few purine (a substance present in foods) rich foods that we eat like meat, mushroom, rajma, etc. When our kidneys are not able to remove uric acid from the body then its level starts increasing in our blood and with time it starts getting collected in joints that causes pain and swelling. 

Mostly, the effects of high uric acid happens in the joints of big toes but may also affect knees, ankles, finger joints, wrists, elbows and heels. Over a period of time, if not treated properly it reaches a stage called gout. Gout is the deposition of crystals of uric acid in the joints leading to pains, stiffness and swelling. It is a primary stage of arthritis.

Risk Factors of High Uric Acid

Here, the risk factor means who all can get high uric acid. It is important to know the risk factors so that preventions can be taken timely to prevent the chances of getting it. So, the people who should take care of their food intake are:

  • Overweight or Obesity- People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of getting high uric acid. Extra weight reduces the kidney functions and as a result they are not able to remove purine out of the body which gets converted into uric acid.
  • Diuretics- Diuretics or water pills helps in removing water retention and increases urination. Their use increases the reabsorption of uric acid and hence increases the uric acid levels.
  • Diabetes– In diabetes, high blood sugar levels also affect the different organs of our body such as heart, eyes, kidney etc. So there is always a high risk of increased uric acid in diabetes whenever kidney health is getting affected due to high blood sugars.
  • Kidney Issues– People whose kidney’s function decreases due to some reason may develop high uric acid. This is because purine has to be removed out by kidneys but when kidneys are not able to do this, then purine gets converted to uric acid and it starts getting collected and increasing in the blood.

Causes of High Uric Acid

People usually think that eating foods that are rich in protein like chicken, mutton, paneer, milk, pulses (dals) etc causes an increase in uric acid levels. Though it’s true but not entirely. There are other important factors that cause uric acid levels to increase and further cause pain and swelling, these include: 

  • Drinking Alcohol- Regular intake of alcohol can lead to an increase in the formation of uric acid along with it’s reduced removal through urine. Also alcohol, especially beer, is a good source of purine whose breakdown result is uric acid. With time and long term alcohol intake, uric acid level in the blood increases.
  • Overweight and Obesity- Fat cells, typically the one in the belly increases the purine breakdown which results in increase in uric acid levels in the blood. The extra fat cells also affects the functioning of the kidneys which further risks uric acid formation.
  • Eating Habits-
    • Purine Rich Diet: Foods such as non-veg (except egg white), legumes, sprouts, peas, beans, cauliflower, mushroom, green leafy vegetables, soybean, peanuts have high purine content in them. Their excessive intake increases the purine levels in our blood which is broken down by our body into uric acid.
    • Sugary Foods and Drinks: High intake of sugary foods and drinks such as soft drinks, juices, ice-creams, foods containing fructose corn syrup, etc also gets converted to uric acid by our body after digestion.
    • Packaged, Fried and Outside foods: All the foods that are high in fat increases the risk of high uric acid because fats try to hold the uric acid in our body and kidneys are not able to remove it properly out of the body.
  • Dehydration- Water is the main key to help kidneys in removing the waste material out of the body. Less water intake leads to dehydration and which increases the chances of less removal of uric acid from the body.

Levels and Normal Range of High Uric Acid

StagesMalesFemales
Low<3.5 mg/dl<2.6 mg/dl
Normal3.5-7.2 mg/dl2.6- 6 mg/dl
High>7.2 mg/dl>6 mg/dl
*Uric acid normal range differs from lab to lab

Symptoms of High Uric Acid

Now symptoms are something that raises an alarm and helps to prevent it at an early stage. So the common high uric acid symptoms that one can experience includes:

  • Pain in joints (mostly in toes)
  • Pain in heels
  • Swelling and redness of joints
  • Difficulty in moving the joints

If you experience any such symptoms of increased uric acid, make sure to consult your Doctor so that right action is taken at the right time.

Home Remedies for High Uric Acid

What can be better than knowing the home remedies that tells you how to reduce uric acid. By following these remedies, one can reduce the levels at home especially when it is at the starting stage. Few home remedies are as follows:

  1. Water
    • Drinking a proper amount of water helps in removing the extra uric acid levels from the body. Drink 10-12 glasses of water daily.
    • Drink one glass of water just after waking up and 30 minutes before each and every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, mid meals, etc).
  2. Lemon
    • It is a good source of Vitamin C that helps in breaking down uric acid and excreting it out of the body.
    • Add half a lemon in 1 glass of water and drink twice daily.
  3. Ginger Turmeric Tea
    • Ginger and turmeric both have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling, pain and stiffness of joints and help in removing uric acid out of the body.
    • Boil 1 inch of ginger and 3 grams of turmeric in 1 cup of water and drink in sips 2-3 times a day.
  4. Papaya
    • It is a very good source of fiber, antioxidants and papain (enzyme present in it) which has anti-inflammatory properties.This helps in removing uric acid from the body and also helps in better digestion of protein.
    • Have a medium bowl of papaya in mid meal to get all the benefits.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar
    • It helps in cleansing and detoxification of the body and eliminates uric acid from the body.
    • Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 glass of water and have early in the morning to start eliminating the toxins out of your body.

Whenever using apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for reducing high uric acid levels, avoid adding large amounts of apple cider vinegar in water as it can cause acidity and teeth issues.

Best Treatment for High Uric Acid

At Zyla, we help you with personalised management of high Uric Acid through a unique Triple Combination Therapy (TCT) approach of Medical nutrition therapy, Naturo therapy and Allopathic therapy

  1. A regional and customised diet to know a list of food to be avoided
  2. Easy to do home exercises or tips to reduce pain, redness and inflammation of joints
  3. Guidance on proper portion size and frequency of food on the basis of uric acid levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you must be having other questions as well about high uric acid so here are the answers of those:

1. How Can I Reduce My Uric Acid Levels?

High uric acid treatment involves the following pointers:

  • Maintaining proper hydration 
  • Avoiding foods rich in purine like meat, chicken, mushroom, rajma, chana, sprouts, peanuts, soy and soy products, green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, cauliflower
  • Taking vitamin C rich fruits like lemon, orange, mosambi, etc.
  • Medicines in case of very high levels
  • Reducing weight (if overweight or obese)
  • Avoiding processed, fried, outside and packaged foods
  • Avoiding sugary drinks, fruit juices and squashes

2. What will Happen if you Have High Uric Acid?

One with high uric acid level may experience:

  • Pain in joints like great toes, ankles, wrist, elbow, finger joints
  • Pain in heels
  • Swelling in joints
  • Reduced kidney function

With time, if not treated properly then it can progress to gout.

3. Which Food Can Reduce Uric Acid?

High uric acid diet includes an intake of:

  • Vitamin C rich fruits like lemon, orange, mosambi, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric, black pepper, garlic, clove, cinnamon
  • Egg whites
  • Salads 

4. Is High Uric Acid Curable?

Yes! High uric acid is completely curable. Only thing that has to be done is to improve dietary habits by:

  • Maintaining hydration: have 8-10 glasses of water daily to keep yourself well hydrated.
  • Increasing fiber intake: have two fruits, 2 times cooked vegetables and 2 times salad daily
  • Taking healthy fatty acid foods: start your day with overnight soaked 6 almonds and 2 walnuts. Add 1 teaspoon of flax seeds powder on your salads.
  • Adding good quality protein foods in diet- have 2 eggs daily without yolk.

5. Is Egg Good for Uric Acid?

You must have heard that non-vegetarian food should be avoided when your uric acid levels are high. But eggs can be eaten in case of high uric acid as it is low in purine and has a good quality protein of high biological value which is easily used by our body.

One should eat 2 egg whites daily. Egg yolk should be avoided as that is rich in fat which can disturb uric acid levels.

6. Is Banana Good for Uric Acid?

Well yes! Bananas can also be eaten in high uric acid. It’s fiber content helps in reducing the levels of uric acid. One can eat 2 bananas daily.

Reviewed by
Dr Rebecca Shweta Gladwin

MD (Medicine), PG (Diabetology), PG Diploma (Endocrinology)

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