A high uric acid level, or hyperuricemia, is an excess of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is produced during the breakdown of purine, a substance found in many foods. Once produced, uric acid is carried in your blood and passes through your kidneys, where most of it leaves your body when you urinate.
A high uric acid level may result in attacks of gout, but not everyone who has high uric acid gets gout, and not everyone with gout has high uric acid.
High uric acid level
A high uric acid level may cause increasingly frequent attacks of gout, or it may never cause problems. A high uric acid level may also cause some people to develop kidney stones or kidney failure. And some people with a high uric acid level also develop high blood pressure, heart disease or chronic kidney disease, but it's often unclear whether this is a direct cause or merely an early warning sign of these conditions.
Factors that may cause a high uric acid level in your blood include:
- Diuretic medications (water pills)
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Genetics (inherited tendencies)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Immune-suppressing drugs
- Niacin, or vitamin B-3
- Purine-rich diet — organ meat, game meat, anchovies, herring, gravy, dried beans, dried peas, mushrooms and other foods
- Renal insufficiency — inability of the kidneys to filter waste
- Tumor lysis syndrome — a rapid release of cells into the blood caused by certain cancers or by chemotherapy for those cancers
Also, you may be monitored for high uric acid levels when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.