Hyperuricemia, or Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia is the term that comes up often when the question, “what is gout?” comes up in conversation.
The words hyperuricemia and “gout”are often used interchangeably but this is incorrect. Gout or gouty arthritis is the painful condition where excessive amounts of uric acid in the blood crystallize in a joint and cause swelling, redness, and extreme pain.
Hyperuricemia refers to the stage of the gout cycle where unacceptable levels of uric acid are present in the blood, but no actual gout symptoms or gout attacks have occurred . . . yet.
There are two main questions most people have about hyperuricemia: How does uric acid become elevated? And, how is it that some people with high levels of uric acid in their blood never get gout?
How Does Uric Acid Become Elevated
Generally speaking, uric acid becomes elevated by one of two means. Either the body is producing too much uric acid, or it is not eliminating enough of it, or both.
The body produces uric acid as a normal part of its every day functioning. However, the problem of producing too much uric acid is actually extremely rare. In those rare cases, the excess production could be coming from abnormal genetics, but this so unlikely it should be considered negligible.
Most often the excess production is coming about as a result of bad lifestyle habits. But this really doesn’t even matter, because the vast majority of cases of hyperuricemia are from the 2nd cause . . . not enough elimination.
When I say “elimination”, think kidneys, bladder, and toilet! Your body has an “eliminatory system” that includes peeing, pooping, sneezing, exhaling, etc. Uric acid is primarily excreted via the kidneys and bladder in your urine. And when your kidneys are not functioning well, they cannot eliminate uric acid as fast as your body is producing it. Hence, hyperuricemia!
High Uric Acid Levels Without Gout Attacks
So, why is it that some lucky chaps can have really high uric acid levels, but never get a gout attack? Were they Mother Teresa in their former incarnation? Maybe. But the more likely explanation is this.
Sooner or later everyone with elevated uric acid will get a gout attack. Most likely it will happen when they reach a certain age, often mid-thirties or so. This is because by this time in a person’s life they have used up (depleted) their alkaline mineral buffer reserve. This reserve is a “store house” of alkaline minerals that every baby is born with, and depending on the mother’s health before giving birth that “reserve” will vary in size.
These alkaline minerals are used to neutralize acidity. In our modern day setting, almost all of us are leading an overly acidic lifestyle. So, with time this reserve gets used up, and the body then can no longer neutralize acidity very well. It catches up with us around middle age, and voila…gout attack!
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Purines and Uric Acid Production
In addition to the factors of your body producing too much uric acid, and not eliminating enough of it…we have the issue of purines. Purines are chemical substances in all foods, and once eaten they get converted to uric acid inside the body. This is different from your body, on its own, simply producing too much uric acid like we talked about above. Purine consumption in food can be controlled.
Purines are a part of the cell structure of every plant, animal and human being. When human beings eat plant or animal sources of food, the by-product of the metabolic break-down of purine substances produces uric acid.
Uric acid in and of itself is utilized by the body as an antioxidant, helping to protect blood vessel linings and other tissues from oxidative damage.
When the amount of uric acid in the blood becomes overly abundant, it can crystallize in one of many joints, usually far from the vital organs in the feet and hands for example. This is a painful event and is the simple explanation of a gout attack.
However, this does not happen to all people with elevated uric acid levels, i.e. hyperuricemia…at least not right away.
Other Causes of Hyperuricemia
For most people, the high levels of uric acid are not a problem until middle-age. Something important to make note of is that in addition to eating high-purine foods, other factors slowly compromise the function of the kidneys.
Your poor kidneys are busy trying to eliminate all the other kinds of acid wastes that result from the modern lifestyle. So it becomes even MORE difficult for them to get rid of uric acid quickly enough to keep the levels within the normal range.
Now, before you start feeling like a victim of your kidneys, let me point out that most people’s health choices are not exactly making life easy for their kidneys! Low blood oxygenation from poor breathing habits or poor air quality, chronic dehydration, overly processed foods or genetically modified foods are just a few of the contributing factors that reduce kidney function over time.
With the addition of more and more toxic environmental chemicals making their way into the inner bodily terrain, the kidneys ability to eliminate the uric acid becomes undermined.
If you want to “eliminate” more uric acid, you’ve got to adopt some kidney-friendly habits. To learn more about kidney-friendly habits, I go way deep on this subject in my online video program called Kill Your Gout For Good.
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Younger People with Hyperuricemia
Once upon a time, gout was considered the Disease of Kings…rich and old men. Interestingly, the real story behind that is the wide-spread occurrence of gout due to “lead poisoning”. The aristocrats had access to lead in many forms, and their eating and drinking implements were made from it. They also enhanced the flavors of their foods with lead acetate.
The modern day epidemic of gout and the pre-gout condition of hyperuricemia follows the same graph as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. We will soon see childhood gout just as we are seeing childhood diabetes. Personally, I now interact with people every day who are in their 30s and 40s who say they got gout for the first time ten or twenty years ago! Don’t let this be you.
Elevated levels of uric acid, hyperuricemia, and gout at any stage, can be pinned on the poor quality, denatured, processed foods of our times. Couple that with massive amounts of toxic chemical substances in our air, water, household products, cosmetics, and more. Poor kidney function, hyperuricemia and gout are all just a foregone conclusion without vigilant gout prevention.
Hyperuricemia Can be Easily Avoided
The way to keep your uric acid levels within the normal range is to focus on overall health, especially kidney health, and eating high-purine foods in moderation or not at all. Most of all, to create a holistically healthy, non-toxic lifestyle that minimized acidity in general.
This would include eating low-acid foods, drinking low acid drinks, avowing acidic toxins, and more. For more information on this, in my program Kill Your Gout For Good I outline a step by step plan for how to create a low-acid lifestyle, which will take care of the problem of hyperuricemia.
☆ Remember! Hyperuricemia is NOT gout…yet.
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