What Is Uric Acid?

What Is Uric AcidWhat Is Uric Acid?


What is uric acid anyways?

According to NLM, uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks. These include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, and beer.

Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys. From there, it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or doesn’t remove enough if it, you can get sick. A high level of uric acid in the blood is called hyperuricemia.

This test checks to see how much uric acid you have in your blood. Another test can be used to check the level of uric acid in your urine.

Source: NLM

Aside from merely understanding what uric acid is, it is also important to note the role of this body chemical in relation to gout, a disease in the joints.

According to Gout Education, gout is caused by an accumulation of sodium urate crystals in the joints. The crystals form when the amount of uric acid in the body reaches an abnormally high level.

Everyone has uric acid, which is naturally present in small amounts. It’s a waste product that results from the body’s normal process of cells dying and releasing purines. It also accumulates from the body absorbing purines contained in some foods.

Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passes through the kidneys into the urine. But, when more uric acid is produced than the kidneys can eliminate, the elevated level is known as hyperuricemia.

After years of sustained hyperuricemia, the body may store excess uric acid up to several times higher than the normal level. The uric acid may crystallize in joints and some other tissues. When the crystals accumulate in the joints they can set the stage for a painful attack of gout.

Once someone has hyperuricemia, any of the following can trigger a painful attack:

  • Trauma, such as banging the big toe or sustained impact to the feet as a result of taking a long walk
  • Prolonged bed rest following surgery
  • Excessive consumption of purine-rich foods or alcohol

Source: Gout Education

The relationship of uric acid and gout has long been studied by doctors. In fact, if you are an avid drinker of beer or any other alcoholic drinks, your physician would normally advise you to have your uric acid levels checked every now and then. This is one of the best precautions that you can take against gout attacks.


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