Hyperuricemia occurs when there is too much uric acid in the bloodstream. It does not cause symptoms but can lead to conditions that include gout or kidney stones.
The body produces uric acid as a byproduct of the breaking down of purine, a chemical that is in many foods.
The kidneys usually filter uric acid out of the bloodstream. Hyperuricemia occurs when uric acid levels are
Over time, hyperuricemia can lead to more serious conditions, such as gout or kidney stones. These conditions require immediate medical attention.
Eating a diet lower in high purine foods can reduce the risk of this progression happening.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms of hyperuricemia, its causes, and how to treat it.
Hyperuricemia does not cause symptoms itself but can cause uric acid crystals to form over time.
Subsequently, these crystals can lead to the development of other conditions, such as:
People with gout will experience sudden joint pain that can worsen over periods of 8–12 hours.
The sharp pain may reduce after a few days but continue for up to 10 days. An attack of gout can return weeks or months later, or never.
An episode of gout can also be the result of a trigger, such as an injury or illness.
In other cases, uric acid crystals can form kidney stones. Depending on the size of the kidney stone, symptoms can include:
- severe lower back pain
- blood in urine
- nausea and vomiting
- foul smelling urine
- stomach aches
Symptoms tend to build up quickly after the stones develop. However, most kidney stones are small and will pass without causing symptoms.
It is also possible for other substances in the body to form kidney stones, such as calcium oxalate or struvite.
Hyperuricemia is when there is too much uric acid in the blood. It occurs because a person is unable to excrete enough uric acid through their kidneys, or they have too much of it in their system.
When the body breaks down purine during digestion, it produces uric acid as a byproduct.
Uric acid enters the bloodstream from this metabolism. The kidneys then filter it out of the blood so that the body can excrete it through urine.
When someone consumes a high purine diet, their kidneys may be unable to filter uric acid out of the blood quickly enough. This causes high uric acid levels, leading to hyperuricemia.
Examples of high purine foods and drinks include:
- alcoholic drinks
- some types of fish or seafood, such as sardines
- shellfish, such as mussels
- some meats, such as bacon
- organ meats, such as liver and kidneys
Other causes of hyperuricemia include errors in purine metabolism and kidney disease.
When hyperuricemia happens, uric acid crystals can cause gout or kidney stones.
It is possible to treat hyperuricemia through dietary changes.
Consuming fewer foods and drinks that are high in purine can reduce uric acid in the blood. This reduction helps the kidneys to filter out uric acid more effectively again.
Low purine foods and drinks to consume instead include:
- dairy products
- whole grains
- lean proteins
Additional treatment may be necessary when hyperuricemia leads to gout or kidney stones.
Doctors can prescribe medication for treating episodes of gout. A doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. These will reduce inflammation and pain.
Stronger medications include corticosteroids, such as prednisone, which also decreases inflammation.
Colchicine is another medicine for treating inflammation with gout.
Treatment for kidney stones will depend on their size. Smaller kidney stones often pass on their own. It is important to drink plenty of fluids and take pain medications while the stones pass.
Larger kidney stones may require removal. Doctors can use a variety of methods to remove kidney stones or help the body break stones down.
Shock wave lithotripsy, for example, involves blasting kidney stones with a sound wave. This treatment reduces them to smaller pieces, so they are easier to pass.
Hyperuricemia has no symptoms, which makes it hard to know if there is a problem.
If hyperuricemia leads to gout or kidney stones, it is essential to see a doctor immediately. The symptoms of both conditions will occur quickly and often cause severe pain.
Hyperuricemia occurs when uric acid levels in the blood are too high.
This is usually the result of consuming a diet rich in purine. The kidneys are unable to clear out uric acid fast enough, causing a build-up in the bloodstream.
High uric acid levels in the bloodstream can cause gout or kidney stones. Both conditions have a rapid onset and may cause severe pain.
It is possible to treat hyperuricemia by limiting high purine foods in the diet. For example, eating fewer shellfish, bacon, or organ meats.
If the hyperuricemia leads to gout or kidney stones, further treatment will be necessary to treat these conditions.