The human body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are found in many foods and occur naturally. In healthy individuals, the body eliminates uric acid through urine, but when the levels of uric acid become too high, it can lead to several health problems. High uric acid levels are associated with several comorbidities, which are additional health problems that occur along with a primary disease or disorder. Here is a look at some of the most common comorbidities associated with high uric acid levels.
Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints, leading to inflammation and intense pain. High uric acid levels in the blood are a major risk factor for developing gout. The risk of developing gout increases with higher levels of uric acid, and people with very high levels of uric acid are more likely to experience more severe and frequent gout attacks.
Studies have shown that high uric acid levels may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is a condition that affects the heart and blood vessels. High uric acid levels are associated with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. In addition, high uric acid levels have been linked to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly, resulting in high blood sugar levels. High uric acid levels have been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications found that people with high uric acid levels were more likely to develop insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter waste products from the blood properly. High uric acid levels can damage the kidneys and increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. A study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that high uric acid levels were associated with a decline in kidney function and an increased risk of developing kidney disease.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is when fat builds up in the liver, leading to inflammation and damage. High uric acid levels have been linked to an increased risk of developing NAFLD. A study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that people with high uric acid levels were more likely to have fatty liver disease and that higher uric acid levels were associated with more severe cases of NAFLD.
To manage high uric acid levels and comorbidities associated with it, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight management can be helpful. Avoiding foods high in purines, such as organ meats, red meat, and seafood, can help lower uric acid levels. In addition, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol can help flush uric acid out of the body.