High uric acid: causes, risks, prevention and diet

If uric acid goes up, it could be caused by a diet too rich in purines. What do you risk and practical tips to keep it at bay

Men and women do not behave in the same way when talking about the "disease of kings", or gout and the very strong pains it causes in the joint.


  • High uric acid: attention to diet
  • How the disease develops
  • How to prevent it
  • Attention to the heart
  • Practical advice for those with high uric acid

High uric acid: attention to diet

For the fairer sex the problem would seem to be linked above all to the excessive consumption of molluscs and fish, rather than to the circumscribed weight gain to the abdomen and to the consequent problems of the metabolism, which instead greatly affects the development of the problem in males. To say it is a study conducted by the Keele University, in the United Kingdom, published in Advances in Rhematology.

According to the research, which has examined over thirty scientific articles, the risk of seeing the attack of gout appear and the consequent pains would obviously be correlated with the problems of the metabolism, but above all for women it would rise when one exaggerates with fish and with cuttlefish, squid and the like. A simple blood test still allows us to know if the uric acid values ​​are under control and to direct the feeding in the most correct sense.

How the disease develops

Gout is linked to hyperuricemia, that is to an increase in the values ​​of uric acid in the blood, due to excessive production of uric acid by the body (perhaps due to an excessively rich diet in purines, contained above all in beer, in offal, in sweetbreads, in anchovies and in the brain, from which uric acid derives) or even to the decreased excretion of uric acid by the kidneys. In this case, the real culprit should not be sought in nutrition but rather in a malfunction of these organs, often not linked to a specific pathology.

Hyperuricemia can remain completely asymptomatic for years, only to be triggered by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals (uric acid concretions which are deposited in the joints from the blood) with acute attacks that occur mainly at night (it seems to be important 'lowering of the typical night time temperature) often associated with fever.

The most affected parts are the joints of the big toes, ankle, knee, wrist and fingers. The inflammation, even if treated, can be maintained for a few days and should be treated by the doctor with specific drugs.

If hyperuricemia is not adequately treated, the acute attacks to the joints multiply and "gouty tophi" can form, that is nodules formed by the deposition of uric acid which can affect the auricle, elbows, knees; at the level of the kidneys, calculations can be formed instead.

How to prevent it

Hyperuricemia should be identified – just a simple blood test – and prevented with a careful diet even if it does not give symptoms. Not all people with an excess of uric acid in their blood show gout or kidney stones. In these cases it is essential to introduce dietary changes and an increase in fluid intake, strategies that must be adopted in any case even in the case of gout itself.

First of all it is important to combat overweight, given that in the case of obesity the risk of hyperuricemia increases. Attention should also be paid when you go on a diet: drastic weight loss can even worsen gout attacks, remember to avoid foods with a high content of "purines", which are the precursors of uric acids. This is the case, for example, of foods such as entrails (brains, tripe, liver, kidneys, etc.), anchovies and sardines, game, molluscs (mussels, clams), shellfish (prawns, lobster, etc.).

Particular attention must be paid to the excess intake of fructose, often used in soft drinks as well as, of course, in fruit juices. Finally, when necessary, the doctor may indicate targeted therapies to contain the levels of uric acid in the blood.

Attention to the heart

Recently it has been discovered that the increase in uric acid in the blood can also signal the risk for the heart. Hyperuricemia is in fact linked to a double thread with an increase in cardiovascular risk, which rears up if the level of 6 milligrams per deciliter is exceeded. Several dozen Italians, so they hide "gems" in their blood vessels, but they are not at all precious.

"Considering the current risk threshold set at 6 milligrams per deciliter of blood, it has been shown that for every 1 milligram increase the risk of serious cardiovascular complications increases from 9 to 26 percent, with a parallel increase in mortality and increases by over 20 percent the danger of stroke ”- explains Claudio Borghi, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Bologna.

"Excess uric acid also increases the risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage, and almost triples the probability of diabetes so much that some experimental studies suggest that hyperuricemia may be a more formidable risk factor than cholesterol."

The mechanisms of uric acid damage are multiple and complex. The crystals that are deposited on the vessel wall increase the possibility of formation of the atherosclerotic "plaque", to which also the processes of synthesis of uric acid contribute, leading to the formation of a large quantity of oxidizing substances that alter the endothelium of the wall of the vessels making them more susceptible to the appearance of atherosclerosis.

Practical advice for those with high uric acid

  • Consume vegetable-based foods regularly, including cereals such as pasta and bread.
  • Pay attention to prolonged fasting: in these cases it is advisable to follow the rhythm of meals regularly.
  • Reduce the consumption of foods rich in purines such as shellfish, blue fish, liver and brains.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol abuse can promote the onset of gout attacks.
  • Always drink plenty of water to keep your kidneys clean and reduce the risk of calculations forming.
  • Prefer steaming or boiling to limit the risks associated with fat consumption.
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