Many people do not give uric acid a great deal of thought unless they are medical professionals. However, anyone that has ever been affected by either high or low levels of uric acid should not have an especially difficult time understanding the importance of keeping these levels in check.
In order for the body to be healthy, uric acid levels must be kept at the proper levels. A fluctuation in either direction can cause a whole host of problems.
Sometimes, the fluctuation in levels is caused by a disease that has a direct impact on the production of uric acid in the body. At other times, it is the fluctuation in these levels that causes other medical conditions.
In order to understand how it affects overall health, it is important to understand what uric acid is as well as what can happen when levels are either too high or too low. This will help you understand what types of conditions can cause too much uric acid, as well as more serious medical conditions that can happen as a direct result of it.
In short, it is a chemical compound that is produced by the human body. It results from the breakdown of substances throughout the metabolism process. The easiest way to explain it is that when the body is converting food into energy, waste products are then produced as a direct result of the process.
This ultimately results in uric acid. Unlike many other waste products, uric acid is necessary for proper functioning within the human body. The absence of it can cause its own set of problems, so it is not only high uric acid levels that can be potentially harmful.
Typically, the body is able to regulate these levels but that is not always the case. Continue reading to find out why levels may go exceedingly high or low, either of which can cause additional medical issues.
There are a lot of things that can cause an imbalance in uric acid throughout the body. Certain medical conditions can cause a problem. One notable condition is known as Lesch- Nyhan syndrome.
This is a hereditary condition that causes uric acid levels to skyrocket in the body, thereby causing additional medical problems. In addition, reduced kidney function can also cause these levels to skyrocket.
Most of the other causes are directly associated with something that an individual does that inadvertently causes a problem. For example, if you have a habit of dieting on a regular basis or you fast too frequently, uric acid levels can be thrown dramatically out of balance, making the levels far too high.
The same thing can happen if you experience rapid weight loss for any reason, whether that weight loss was intentional or not.
You can also experience similar issues if you take diuretics or if you partake in an unhealthy diet, especially if you have a habit of eating a lot of sugar. The body has an exceptionally hard time converting sugar into energy, resulting in additional waste products.
The sugar is then converted to uric acid, but the process is not complete. As a result, the acid levels in the body can become far too high for it to handle, thus creating a situation where it is virtually impossible for the body to handle the levels of uric acid that are present.
One of the most notable conditions is gout. This is an extremely painful condition that looks like a swollen joint. It can occur in any joint throughout the body, but is most frequently found in fingers, toes and even in the ankles. It is essentially caused by a buildup of crystals that then settle in the joints and make it virtually impossible to move the joint in question.
When a person does move, the pain is so extreme that it is virtually impossible to withstand it. Even when the joint is not being moved, the individual in question is likely to experience a tremendous amount of pain.
Other more serious conditions include diabetes as well as kidney stones and even metabolic syndrome. Kidney stones are one of the most painful conditions that a person can experience and much like diabetes, metabolic syndrome can lead to a host of other medical conditions that can be even more serious.
Finally, high levels of uric acid can cause cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis. It is thought that this is because of the increased levels of inflammation that occur within both the walls of the arteries and the heart muscle itself.
This can cause arteries to become inflamed, thereby leading to increased levels of plaque within those arteries. The inflammation can also have a direct impact on the heart muscle, thereby weakening it or causing an irregular heartbeat.
If a person is experiencing low levels of uric acid, it is typically because of one of two causes. Frequently, those who experience low levels are affected by multiple sclerosis.
It is not yet fully understood why this disease causes uric acid levels to plummet, but many individuals that have the disease combat low levels. As a result, a direct correlation has been found between the two, despite the fact that this correlation has not yet been fully explored.
Low levels of uric acid can also be caused by oxidative stress. Without intervention, this can cause issues throughout the body, and may even affect cognitive abilities, at least temporarily. As a result, intervention must be made to restore uric acid to a healthy level as quickly as possible.