Here I describe the symptoms of hyperuricemia and how this condition can be treated. First though, it’s important to understand just what hyperuricemia is…
What is Hyperuricemia?
Hyperuricemia is the name given to a condition in which a person has high levels of uric acid in their blood. This is normally considered as being more than 9 mg of uric acid per 100 ml of blood.
The recommended level of uric acid is less than 6 mg per 100 ml. Someone in the range 6 mg to 9 mg per 100 ml is said to have raised or elevated uric acid levels.
It is a fact that you can have raised or even very high uric acid levels and not have gout. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually get an attack of gout. You see, urate crystals, which cause gout symptoms, can take a long time to form out of uric acid, months or even years in some cases.
However, it is also a fact that many people with hyperuricemia can go through their lives without gout. On the other hand, there are also many people with normal levels of uric acid who get gout.
There just doesn’t seem to be any single or clear reason why uric acid should build-up in a person’s bloodstream to the extent that it leads to hyperuricemia. But there are several factors that are known to help increase the risk of high uric acid. These are things such as…
- Genetics – certain inherited genes
- A diet that is high in purines
- Kidneys not functioning properly / kidney disease
- Too much alcohol / binge drinking
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Being overweight
- Some medications (e.g. aspirin, niacin, diuretics such as thiazides, etc.)
- Certain diseases (e.g. leukaemia, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, psoriasis, glandular fever, etc.).
Most people probably don’t discover that they have hyperuricemia until they have been tested for, and diagnosed with, gout. Because they had experienced the symptoms of gout — swollen, hot, red, stiff, inflamed and very painful joint — they had attended their physician who had ordered a blood test. So you could say that these gout symptoms are also hyperuricemia symptoms.
But, if you have hyperuricemia without gout being present, what other symptoms should you look for? Other symptoms are thing like; fatigue, kidney stones, urination problems, headaches, dizziness, fever, and, there are even some reports of loss of libido.
Hyperuricemia Treatment Guidelines
Medical Treatment for Hyperuricemia
The medical profession will usually prescribe certain drugs to help lower high uric acid blood levels. Typical of these are Allopurinol, Probenecid, and Febuxostat, with Allopurinol probably the most widely used of all the uric acid reducing drugs.
Some people will have negative reactions to these drugs, and unfortunately, they have to be taken over the longer term because they are only effective whilst being taken. Unless you factor-in some important lifestyle and dietary changes as well, there is nothing to prevent uric acid levels rising again once you come off the drugs. So talk to your physician about this.
Dietary Changes for Hyperuricemia
Uric acid is formed as a byproduct of the breakdown of purines in our bodies and in our foods. So that if your diet is rich in high purine foods there is an increased risk of having higher levels of uric acid in the blood. So folks with hyperuricemia need to change to a lower purine diet.
This essentially means cutting out — or at the very least reducing — foods like organ meat, fatty red meat, game, poultry, fish, shellfish, and even some vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower and spinach.
Alcohol and Hyperuricemia
There is a clear link between high alcohol consumption and high uric acid. This happens because of alcohol’s ability to both, increase the production of uric acid, and, to reduce the excretion of uric acid due to dehydration. So alcohol needs to be seriously reduced or stopped completely. Beer is especially bad because it also contributes purines to the equation.
Link Between Hyperuricemia and Binge Eating and Drinking
It’s amazing the number of times people go on holiday and end up with gout. My first gout attack happened on holiday in Greece! And the conclusion is clear: it’s all about binge eating and drinking. On holiday, you tend to over-eat and drink too much. If you already have raised uric acid levels, then this can lead to even more uric acid production and hyperuricemia. And it’s much the same at weekends. So be careful about binge eating and drinking then too.
Conversely, you need to be careful about reducing your diet too quickly as well. For example, if you go on a crash diet, the sudden change can actually increase your uric acid levels dramatically. So always take things easy with a new diet and always with the input and guidance of your doctor first.
Stay Hydrated to Help Reduce Uric Acid Levels
It is well known that a dehydrated body is more prone to higher uric acid levels in the blood than one which is well hydrated. So drink at least 3 litres of water everyday. This will help your kidneys do their job better and help flush uric acid out of your body.
Having Hyperuricemia and Being Overweight
Being overweight may be on of the most common causes of hyperuricemia. When you are overweight, not only do you have more purines in your body to produce uric acid, as well as putting additional strain on your joints, you are also much more likely to have high blood pressure, another cause of high uric acid. So, if you are overweight, you really must get back down to your healthy weight. Check with your doctor.
These are a few, but nevertheless, important hyperuricemia treatment guidelines. You can see that even if you use the medication route, you still need to incorporate dietary and lifestyle changes. In fact, because of the cost of ongoing drug-based medications and their possible side effects, sufferers are increasingly using natural approaches to their hyperuricemia treatment.