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Uric Acid In Blood: Causes And Troubles
Now-a-days, those people, who are health conscious and go for regular health check- up, are acquainted with the word “uric acid”. But many of them do not know what it actually is and what kinds of problems it may create in the body if it contains excess of that acid.
What is uric acid?
From the nucleic acid of the living cells, by different metabolic processes, two substances called adenine and guanine are produced which are known as purine. An enzyme in our body called xanthine-oxidase converts this purine, in three stages, to uric acid. Chemically, it is composed of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen whose formula is C5H4N4O3. The salt of it is known as sodium urate monohydrate. When the decay of cells occurs at a rate greater than the normal rate, then the formation of uric acid in the body also increases. The maximum permissible level of it in the blood of an adult male is 8mg/100ml of blood while that in an adult female is 6mg/100ml of blood. If its level in the blood is more than the above maximum level, then it is called hyper-uricaemia, which is not a normal condition. It is seen that generally its level in the blood increases gradually after 20 years of age and in the case of females this occurs, particularly, after the menopause. The total content of the acid in the blood may remain within 900mg – 1200mg depending on the bodyweight, food habit and racial difference. 75% of it in our blood is excreted, unchanged, through urine, while 20 – 25% of it, changed to some extent, is excreted through the faeces. Uric acid in our blood is in the form of monosodium urate, which, if increases, gets deposited in the joints and kidneys and causes diseases.
How does hyper-uricaemia occur?
Hyper-uricaemia may occur due to one or more of the following reasons:
1) Increased formation of uric acid due to genetic characteristics or metabolic malfunctioning of enzymes.
2) Chronic kidney disease leading to less excretion of the acid through urine.
3) Too much intake of meat (lamb, beef) or sea-fishes.
4) Eating of fructose-rich foods. Sugar contains about 50% fructose.
5) Drinking of corn syrup.
6) Diseases causing rapid cell turnover, like polycythaemia, different types of leukaemia and a skin disease called psoriasis.
7) Drinking too much alcohol, particularly, beer.
8) Daily intake of very low dose of aspirin. Too much intake of tea or medicine containing caffein.
9) Thiazide like medicines which are used to treat blood pressure and dropsy.
10) Medicines like pyrazinamide and ithambutol which are used to treat tuberculosis.
11) Medicines like livodopa, methyldopa, cysplatin and cyclomerine.
12) When an overweight person tries to lose weight quickly, then there occurs an increase in the uric acid level in his/her blood.
13) While doing excessive physical work or exercise, there is an increased formation of lactic acid in the body. At that time, there may be a temporary increased production of uric acid in the blood.
14) Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, insulin-resistant disease syndrome ‘x’ – in all these cases the level of the acid is high.
Problems caused by high uric acid level in blood
This may cause mainly 2 types of diseases —
2) Uric acid stone in kidneys
Gout arthritis is created by increased uric acid level in the blood caused by any disturbance in the body’s purine or protein metabolism. Uric acid does not dissolve properly in our blood. So, any excess of it in the blood gets deposited in our joints in the form of monosodium urate crystals and causes inflammation. Gout is a very painful disease of joints, which mainly occurs to aged persons. Males are 5-7 times more prone to this disease than the females.
The problem starts when the quantity of uric acid in the blood crosses its normal level of 2-7mg/100ml. It is seen that the painful symptoms of gout arthritis start showing if this level in the case of females exceeds 3.5-5mg/100ml and in the case of males 5-7mg/100ml. Again, in case of severe gout, the level may be 20mg/100ml or more.
Uric acid stone in kidneys
When the quantity of uric acid in the blood is very high, then the excess amount after saturation, which does not dissolve in blood, starts depositing in the kidneys, since 75% of the acid is excreted from the body through the kidneys. When the reaction of urine is acidic, then the kidneys cannot throw out the whole of uric acid through urine. Moreover, during summer, when the body loses lot of water or those people, who drink very less quantity of water, for them there is a possibility of easily developing stone in the kidneys. One may not feel any trouble at the first stage of kidney stone. Even, it cannot be detected by ordinary X-ray or scan since the urate stone is radiolucent. It may be detected by sonography only.
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