Uric Acid: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Uric acid is produced as the result of purine metabolism, an automatic process in the human body. Purines can be found in red meat, organ meats and seafood products; when broken down by our body they release uric acid which should normally be excreted through kidneys and eliminated through urine; however in some instances this production can increase, leading to elevated uric acid levels which could eventually result in gout or other health problems.

We will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for uric acid buildup

Causes of Uric Acid Buildup

There are various causes that contribute to an accumulation of uric acid in the body, with diet being one primary contributor. Consuming foods rich in purines (red meat, organ meats, seafood and alcohol are high sources), can lead to overproduction of uric acid by the body that cannot be eliminated through excretion, leading to an accumulation of this acidic compound in the bloodstream.

Other than diet, other contributing factors to uric acid buildup may include dehydration, certain medical conditions like gout, kidney disease and diabetes as well as certain medications like diuretics or aspirin.

Symptoms of Uric Acid Buildup

Higher concentrations of uric acid may not always result in noticeable symptoms; however, when crystals from this acid accumulate in joints it can result in painful conditions known as gout. Gout is characterized by sudden and severe joint pain often in the big toe joint; further symptoms include swelling and redness in the affected joint, warmth/tenderness in that joint and limited range of motion in that area.

Alongside gout, high levels of uric acid can also play a part in causing kidney stones. Kidney stones are hard, crystalline deposits that form inside your kidneys and can cause pain as they pass through your urinary tract.

Treatment of Uric Acid Buildup

Treating uric acid buildup depends on its source and severity. When high uric acid levels are caused by lifestyle factors like diet and alcohol consumption, making changes can help decrease their levels. Staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy weight are also effective methods for decreasing these numbers.

In cases of more severe uric acid accumulation, medication may be required to help manage symptoms and lower uric acid levels. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine and corticosteroids may help manage pain and inflammation associated with gout. Additionally, medications like allopurinol and febuxostat can help to decrease uric acid levels and thereby help prevent gout attacks.

In addition to medication, there are also several lifestyle changes that can be helpful in managing uric acid buildup. These include:

Dietary changes: Avoiding foods that are high in purines, such as red meat, organ meat, and seafood, can help to reduce uric acid levels. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can also be helpful.

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help to flush excess uric acid out of the body and reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.

Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of uric acid buildup and gout.

Exercise: Regular exercise can help to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of uric acid buildup and gout.

Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol can contribute to uric acid buildup and gout, so limiting
Alcohol consumption or avoiding it altogether can be beneficial in managing uric acid levels.

Avoiding dehydration: Staying hydrated can help to prevent uric acid buildup and reduce the risk of kidney stone formation. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.

Managing medical conditions: If you have a medical condition such as gout or kidney disease that is contributing to uric acid buildup, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to manage the condition and prevent complications.

NOTE: Not all individuals with high uric acid levels will develop gout or other health complications. However, those who have a family history of gout or who possess other risk factors associated with increased levels should remain aware of symptoms and seek medical advice as necessary.


Uric acid buildup can be both painful and serious. By understanding its causes and symptoms, individuals can take steps to minimize risk while seeking appropriate treatment if necessary. A healthy lifestyle, staying hydrated, working with healthcare providers to regulate uric acid levels and avoiding complications all play a part. If symptoms of uric acid accumulation develop it is crucial that medical attention be sought immediately and work together on developing an effective plan with them for treatment.

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