Normal Uric Acid Levels

Uric acid is a waste byproduct made during the process of purine breakdown by the body. Purine is a type of chemical that naturally occurs in the body. It is also present in some foods.

The uric acid thus produced travels through the bloodstream, gets filtered by the kidneys, and eventually gets removed along with urine. In some instances, the kidneys may not be able to effectively eliminate uric acid from the body, or the body may begin producing excessive amounts of uric acid. This results in elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. Such a condition of abnormal, high levels of uric acid is medically referred to as hyperuricemia.

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Uric acid – normal range

The normal range for uric acid is discussed below. It may be noted that the normal uric acid levels tend to differ from one individual to another as it is dependent on the gender, age, and the lifestyle and overall health. The values may also vary from one laboratory to another.

  • Normal uric acid levels in women: 2.4 to 6.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • Normal uric acid levels in men: 3.1 to 7.0 mg/dL
  • Normal uric acid levels in children: 2.0 to 5.5 mg/dL

High levels of uric acid

  • High levels of uric acid has always been associated with the intake of a purine-rich diet. Poultry, seafood, and meat are abundant in purine. Therefore, excessive consumption of these foods can result in an increase in uric acid levels in the body.
  • In most cases, high levels of uric acid is harmless. However, some people can develop varied health complications like kidney stones, gout, arthritis, kidney failure, etc.High uric acid levels may also aggravate underlying disorders such as leukemia, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Symptoms of high uric acid levels

  • High levels of uric acid primarily causes swelling, redness, excruciating pain, and inflammation that are typically felt in the knees, wrists, tendons, elbows, ankles, the big toe, and other adjacent tissues.
  • Kidney problems can result in severe abdominal pain, painful urination, abnormal urine color and foul odor, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, headaches, etc.

Causes of high uric acid levels

  • As mentioned above, high levels of uric acid is mainly caused due to intake of a diet that is full of purine-rich foods.
  • Other factors which have been linked to high uric acid levels include alcohol abuse, hereditary causes, certain forms of cancer, intake of vitamin C supplements or niacin, diuretics, obesity, starvation, kidney dysfunction, chemotherapy, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, and lead poisoning.

Blood test for checking uric acid levels

The levels of uric acid can be easily measured with a simple blood test at a laboratory. Such a blood test will also help diagnose gout and whether high uric acid level is a symptom of kidney problems.

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Easy-to-use uric acid test kits are also available in the market. People who suspect of, or are susceptible to, high uric acid levels can use them to regularly monitor their uric acid levels. It is important to consult a doctor when you see changes in normal uric acid levels.

The uric acid test kits have a mini lancing device and test strips. Collect a drop of blood on a test strip using the lancing device. A new strip has to be used for every new test. The strip with blood sample is then placed in the given slot in the testing monitor. The uric acid levels can be seen on the display in the testing monitor.

Foods for reduction of uric acid

It is possible to maintain the levels of uric acid by limiting or fully eliminating purine-rich foods from the diet. An ideal diet for uric acid reduction consists of large amounts of carbohydrates, moderate quantities of protein, and very low amounts of fat. Such a diet is also helpful in decreasing the vulnerability to kidney diseases, arthritis, and gout which usually develop due to high uric acid levels.

Listed below are different food items that should be included in the diet to reduce uric acid levels:

  • Low protein and low purine foods like cheese, gelatin, tart cherries, rice, whole wheat breads, eggs, corn, peanut butter, vinegar, and pasta.
  • Foods with complex proteins like tofu, cabbage, berries, parsley, and celery.
  • Potassium abundant foods like bananas, yogurt, dried peaches, cereals, and yam.
  • Lemon juice, pineapples, red bell peppers, olive oil, varied nuts, soy products, fibrous foods, red cabbage, salmon, flax seeds, and low-fat dairy products are some other foods that help in reducing uric acid levels. These foods are rich in vitamin C and bromelain.

Patients also need to remove a lot of varied food items from their diet so as to prevent any increase in the uric acid levels. The foods that need to be avoided are listed below:

  • Foods with high purine content like sweetbreads, lamb, scallops, mussels, sardines, mincemeat, beer, yeast, pork, shrimp, anchovies, tuna, processed meat, and organ meats like liver, kidney, etc.
  • Foods with medium purine content like spinach, dried beans, peas, turkey, chicken, bacon, sodas, mushroom, cauliflower, lentils and legumes, asparagus, goose, oatmeal, and lobsters.
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