What is Uric Acid?
When chemicals called purines break down and are dissolved in the blood, it forms uric acid. It occurs as a byproduct of protein digestions and is usually excreted through the urine by the kidneys. It has no useful function and is a waste product.
What causes build up of uric acid?
Sometimes, when the kidneys are unable to eliminate enough of the uric acid it can cause build up of uric acid.
There are several reasons for uric acid accumulation. These are:-
- Certain kinds of food like dried beans, liver, certain types of fish, mushrooms etc
- High fructose drinks
- Lead exposure
- Certain medications
- High levels of ketone
Why uric acid build-up causes joint pain?
When uric acid is not eliminated regularly from the body, it accumulates in the form of needle-like crystals in the joints and soft tissues. This can cause inflammation, swelling, stiffness, pain, and heat in the joints. This can manifest as arthritic pain.
One of the most common kinds of joint pains caused by buildup of uric acid is gout. It is an acute form of arthritis that often affects one joint at a time. Usual symptoms of joint pain due to uric acid accumulation are:-
- Severe joint pain
- Flu like symptoms
- Muscle aches
- May start with pain in the big toe
- Accompanied by swelling and redness
- It can last for several hours at a time, gradually worsening
- Pain can move from joint to joint
- It can limit movement
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should consult a doctor. Usually the doctor would recommend a serum uric acid test, serum urate, or UA.
Normal Uric acid levels are 2.4-6.0 mg/dL (female) and 3.4-7.0 mg/dL (male).
How to regulate your uric acid level
- Changes in your diet
- Avoiding high sugar foods
- Drinking more water
- Stopping alcohol consumption
- Following a weight loss program
- Adding more fibre to your diet
Making lifestyle changes may help in regulating your uric acid level and preventing this trigger for joint pain.