Uric acid is a substance the body forms as it breaks down purine in the blood. Purines are found in a variety of foods and drinks, including alcohol, red meat and certain types of fish.
Usually uric acid dissolves in the blood and is passed out of the body through the kidneys and in your urine. However, when the body produces too much uric acid or if it is unable to remove enough uric acid, then high levels the acid begin to build up in the blood. This condition is called hyperuricemia.
On its own, hyperuricemia isn’t dangerous. However, if large amounts of the uric acid begin to crystalize, then the needle-like crystals can deposit themselves into the body’s joints, tendons and tissue — which is very painful. When this happens, the disease is called gouty arthritis or gout for short.
Some things that can cause extremely high levels of uric acid in the blood include:
There are several foods high in purine levels, so if you need to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood, you may want to cut back on these items: