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What is Hyperuricemia?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hyperuricemia is the presence of an excess of uric acid in the body’s blood products. Several illnesses, such as hyperthyroidism or an excessive level of thyroid hormones in the body can cause hyperuricemia. It may also be caused by inflammation of the kidneys, called nephritis. Those with multiple sclerosis may be prone to hyperuricemia, and as well, people with bone marrow cancer may be at risk.

People who are fed intravenously may also be at risk for high uric acid content. Certain medications like allopurinol, which is used to treat gout, may also cause hyperuricemia, as well as excessive consumption of alcohol or alcoholism. High levels of fructose, sugars from fruit and fruit juices, can also result in the condition.

Hyperuricemia can also be the causal factor for several conditions. High concentrates of uric acid can lead to kidney or bladder stones, which then either must be painfully passed or surgically removed. High uric acid may also be a causal factor for gout, which is a painful arthritis of the joints.

Humans do not have the enzyme that breaks down uric acid, and normally, most people exhibit a normal range or the substance. Normal is defined as no more than 6 milligrams per deciliter of blood products in women, and no more than 7 milligrams per deciliter of blood in men. Vegetarians often have a great deal less uric acid, because they do not consume meat, which is quite high in uric acid. If one is borderline in their measurements, adjusting to a vegetarian diet may resolve the problem so that it does not progress to hyperuricemia.

Diagnosis is made by evaluating both urine and blood samples. The presence of kidney or bladder stones, or presence of gout, or any of the illnesses or predispositions for hyperuricemia above may indicate regular testing. Where hyperuricemia is persistent, treatment focuses on reducing the amount of uric acid in the body.

Several medications, called uricosurics, can break down uric acid. These include probenecid, and sulfinpyrazone. Most uricosurics, however, can have adverse side effects and can be contraindicated in the elderly, as they may be toxic. Occasionally those taking these medications can develop a hypersensitivity to them, which can quickly lead to renal failure in worst-case scenarios.

Treatment of this condition remains problematic because of significant side effects of uricosurics. Current research involves developing medications with fewer side effects. There is little research being done to eradicate hyperuricemia, though research on some of its causal conditions may eventually reduce the incidence.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By andee — On Nov 10, 2011

I had high uric acid levels which caused me to have gout. This affected my feet and I couldn't figure out what was going on.

Gout is a type of arthritis that is different than other types of arthritis. I am thankful that it can be treated with medication and does not keep me from doing what I like to do.

I also started to follow an arthritis gout diet. This is pretty much the same diet someone would follow that had cardiovascular problems. I try to avoid a lot of red meat and fatty foods.

Exercise is also helpful, and as long as my feet aren't hurting, I don't mind doing this either. I found that swimming is good no matter what and this seems to be what I enjoy doing most.

Between the medication, diet and exercise, I am trying to keep my uric acid levels down to prevent hyperuricemia.

By John57 — On Nov 09, 2011

If you have ever had kidney stones, you know how painful they can be. Having kidney stones was much more painful for me than giving birth.

I am not exactly sure what caused these, but do know that one of the causes of hyperuricemia is nephritis. All of this is related to how the kidneys work and in my case, resulted in stones.

I had never given it much thought in the past when I had blood work done, but my kidney counts were always a little high. Looking back on it now, I may have had chronic hyperuricemia and not even knew it. This is never anything I worried about until I had the kidney stones.

Without knowing the cause for them, it is hard to know what to do so I don't get them again.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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