What is uric acid?
Uric acid is a substance that can normally be found in our blood. It is soluble in it, mainly in the form of urate and in small quantities as uric acid.
The kidney is the organ that removes uric acid par excellence, to prevent it to build up in our bodies, but a small part of it is also removed in our intestinal tract.
Uric acid normal range
When the concentration of uric acid in the blood, that’s to say, when uric acid accumulates more than it should, exceeding values of 7mg/dl in women and 7.5mg/dl in men, there is a condition called hyperuricemia or excess of uric acid in blood.
Consequences of the increase in uric acid
The pH of our blood is neutral (pH = 7.4). In order to maintain a normal health, this pH should be kept constant with few oscillations or variations.
The accumulation of uric acid (hyperuricemia) caused because the concentration is higher than normal, implies the acidification of the pH of the blood, causing tissue damage. Associated symptoms can appear (as a symptom of alarm), among others, and various problems in our health.
An example of an alarm symptoms is called gout, which is an accumulation of uric acid crystals, called tophi. Tophi generate a sharp pain (sudden, as an attack), that appears in the outer and most distant part or our body, the so called distal parts), such as in the big toe, specifically in it joints. It may also appear localized in other joints (knees, etc..), but its incidence is less frequent.
If not removed, these tophi and gout attacks occur continuously, and, finally, they can destroy the joints that are affected.
How does uric acid accumulate?
When our diet is too rich in purines, uric acid concentration in our blood begins to increase, because of this excess.
There is also an increase in uric acid in our blood when we perform fasting periods.
What are purines?
They are a substance which is part of the core protein of cells, called nucleoproteins. The purines are precursors of uric acid production.
* More information about the production and procurement of purines.
Causes of increased uric acid
The causes which can raise uric acid levels are manifold. They can be primary or secondary. The secondary can be subdivided according to whether they are linked to food or are associated with the occurrence of some other disease.
* More information on the many causes of the accumulation of uric acid in the listing above.
Symptoms and consequences of high uric acid
Excess of uric acid does not usually present any symptoms, so it is harder to detect it quickly. In this case, it is considered asymptomatic.
But you can develop some symptoms as a result of the accumulation of uric acid. The main ones are the following:
– Occurrence of fever with chills and sweating.
– Appearance of acute gouty arthritis or chronic gouty arthritis (commonly known as gout), which is manifested by an intense sharp pain that occurs in the the big toe of the foot. Although this is not the only location where it can occur. (Liquid is accumulated in the joints of the big toe, causing inflammation and swelling that generates the sharp pain)
These symptoms and consequences may worsen considerably it not proper proper treatment is applied.
For example, untreated gout, can even cause the appearance of a peripheral neuropathy, called gouty neuropathy. Such anomaly is improved if you manage to diminish acid uric in blood.
More information on uric acid.