High Uric Acid Levels (Hyperuricemia)

Conditions like diabetes and kidney disease are risk factors

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Uric acid is a waste product found in urine. If your body makes too much or doesn't eliminate enough of it, uric acid levels can become too high—a condition known as hyperuricemia. High uric acid levels can lead to symptoms and eventually conditions like gout and kidney disease.

Most uric acid is produced naturally in your body. The rest is converted from substances in certain foods called purines. If you're diagnosed with hyperuricemia, changes to what you eat and drink may help you bring your uric acid levels back down to normal.

This article looks at hyperuricemia, its causes, and symptoms. It also discusses possible treatment.

What Uric Acid Level Indicates Hyperuricemia?

A uric acid level of 6.8 mg/dl or higher means you have hyperuricemia. A normal serum urate level for assigned females is 1.5 to 6.0 mg/dL. For assigned males, it is 2.5 to 7.0 mg/dL.

Most uric acid dissolves in the blood. From there, it travels to the kidneys to be excreted in urine. A serum uric acid blood test measures the amount of uric acid in your blood. Your uric acid level can also be checked with a urine sample.

Symptoms of Hyperuricemia 

Hyperuricemia itself is not a disease. In some cases, it does not cause symptoms or problems. Still, long-term hyperuricemia may lead to the development of uric acid crystals. These can be problematic.

High uric acid levels can result in gout or kidney disease. These are the two most common conditions related to hyperuricemia.


With gout, uric acid crystals build up in the joints. This causes inflammation and the breakdown of joint cartilage.

Symptoms of gout include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness
  • Deformity
  • Inflammation
  • Limited range of motion
Stages of Gout

Verywell / Emily Roberts

Kidney Stones

Uric acid crystals can also be deposited in the kidneys. This causes kidney stones which can be very painful. If left untreated, they can block the urinary tract and cause infections.

Symptoms of kidney stones include:

Kidney stones can also cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is because they harbor bacteria. Symptoms of a UTI are similar to those of kidney stones. There may also be fever or chills.

Over time, kidney stones and other forms of kidney damage can lead to chronic kidney disease. This makes it more difficult to get rid of uric acid.

Untreated kidney disease can lead to kidney failure or loss of kidney function.

What Causes High Uric Acid?

The primary risk factors for developing hyperuricemia include:

  • Getting older
  • Being an assigned male

Studies in the U.S. and New Zealand found that people of African, Maori, or Filipino ancestry are at higher risk than people of European ancestry.

Other risk factors include:

Hyperuricemia Treatment 

If you don't have symptoms, you don't necessarily need to treat your high uric acid levels. When hyperuricemia symptoms are present, a change in diet may help. Medication is typically prescribed for cases of gout.

Diet Changes

Eating foods low in purines may help regulate hyperuricemia levels.

  • Organ meats, meat extracts, and gravy

  • Sardines, anchovies, shellfish, and tuna

  • Beer and other alcoholic beverages

  • Sugary foods and beverages, such as soda, that contain high-fructose corn syrup

  • Milk and milk products

  • Eggs

  • Lettuce, tomatoes, and green vegetables

  • Cream soups without meat stock

  • Peanut butter and nuts

  • Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges

Drink plenty of water each day. This will help the kidneys flush out uric acid. Some studies suggest drinking coffee on a regular basis can help prevent gout. If dietary changes don't control your hyperuricemia levels, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications.

High Uric Acid Medicine

Urate-lowering therapies are the preferred medication for most individuals with gout. Options include:

  • Benemid (probenecid): This is a uricosuric medication. This drug increases excretion of uric acid in the urine.
  • Zyloprin (allopurinol), Uloric (febuxostat): These drugs are called xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOIs). They reduce the body’s production of uric acid.
  • Zurampic (lenisurad): This is prescribed with an XOI to increase its effects.
  • Krystexxa (pegloticase): Pegloticase is given by intravenous infusion. It changes uric acid into a substance called allantoin. Your body can easily eliminate allantoin. This drug is reserved for people who have not had success with other gout medications.


Hyperuricemia occurs when you produce too much uric acid or can't eliminate enough of it. Getting older and being an assigned male are the two major risk factors for this condition.

Hyperuricemia can lead to gout, when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. It can also cause uric acid crystals to form in the kidneys. Over time, this may lead to kidney disease.

A diet low in purines may help control uric acid levels. Foods that are low in purines include milk, eggs, nuts, and citrus fruits. If you can't control your hyperuricemia with diet, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication. 

A Word From Verywell

Knowing your uric acid level is just as important as knowing your cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have sore joints or frequent urinary tract infections. If you've had attacks of gout, you should have your uric acid levels tested. You'll need to test every six months to ensure that your levels stay under 6.0 mg/dl.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is lemon good for uric acid?

    In a study, individuals who drank two freshly squeezed lemons in their water per day had a decreased uric acid level when rechecked after six weeks.

  • Is uric acid the same as urea?

    No. Urea is a waste product made when protein is broken down. Uric acid is a waste product created when the body breaks down chemicals called purines.

Gout Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

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10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Carol Eustice
Carol Eustice is a writer covering arthritis and chronic illness, who herself has been diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.