When researching gout, you will likely find the word hyperuricemia associated with it many times. So what is hyperuricemia? Hyperuricemia means, having a lot of uric acid in the blood. Many times patients will have high levels of uric acid without developing kidney stones or gout.
Gout and Hyperuricemia
Gout is related to hyperuricemia because gout is formed by it. When your blood levels have an increased amount of uric acid, which is caused by purine foods (shellfish, red meat, vegetables, alcohol) - and when your kidneys aren't excreting the purines efficiently, gout can develop.
Does Having Hyperuricemia mean you have Gout?
No. When you develop hyperuricemia, it means that your body has a lot of uric acid. This can then result to gout later on. You can have hyperuricemia without gout, but you can't have gout without hyperuricemia.
How does Hyperuricemia Occur?
There are several factors that are known to cause hyperuricemia. Dehydration is one of them. When you don't consume enough fluids, your body won't excrete the uric acids quickly enough. Your kidneys will also begin to fail when not getting enough fluids. Another way of your kidneys failing is if you are over weight. Obesity causes a lot of weight to dwell on your kidneys, so this too can corrupt your kidneys from forming as they should. Eating foods with purines can also increase the level of uric acid in your body, so dieting correctly can help prevent hyperuricemia from occurring and avoiding gout altogether.
How to Prevent Hyperuricemia
It is a good idea to stay away from purine-rich foods such as alcohol, shellfish, red meat, organ meats (liver, kidneys, heart, brains, etc) and over eating habits. So it is good to try to stay at a healthy weight or lose the excess pounds if over weight. Other factors are high blood pressure, diabetes, injury, fever, excessive eating and dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water and to always drink while exercising or in hot climates. Try to increase your excretion levels and decrease the "gout food" consumptions. Eliminate them completely if at all possible. If you find that you are urinating less, drink more water to increase it. The more your kidneys are excreting, the less the chances are of uric acid increasing in your blood.
What are the Risks of Hyperuricemia?
After developing hyperuricemia, you are at risk of getting gout, which can then lead to kidney stones. Another illness that hyperuricemia can cause is gouty arthritis (Thomas Jefferson was diagnosed with this illness). Once gout is established in your body, you will feel great pain, usually beginning with your big toe.
It can also travel to places like your knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. Your joint areas will swell up and/or redden and become extremely tender. It is said that hyperuricemia is more likely to develop in men than women and more in blacks (and indigenous races in the Pacific) than whites. Five percent of the patients with gout are women who are already experiencing menopause.