Signs & symptoms of high uric acid levels

Written by erik devaney
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Signs & symptoms of high uric acid levels
(Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

High uric acid levels (known medically as hyperuricemia) can result due to either an increase in purines, which are nitrogen-based compounds that break down into uric acid, or due to a disease or other medical condition, such as cancer. Typically, uric acid travels through your liver, enters the bloodstream, and is either excreted in your urine or is processed in the intestines. If your body produces too much uric acid, several signs and symptoms can appear.

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In some of individuals with high uric acid levels, crystallised fragments of the acid can inflame joints, causing a condition known as gout. According to, gout is typified by intense joint pain, particularly in the knees, feet, wrists and hands. While this acute pain often occurs suddenly—most often during the nighttime—and then dissipates, it is not uncommon for individuals with gout to suffer from lingering discomfort. In some cases, according the above source, joints may become swollen and turn red.

Ureter Blockage

Similar to how high uric acid levels can cause interference with joints, the condition can also cause a blockage of the ureter, the duct where urine is carried from the kidneys to the bladder. According to OncoLink at, ureter blockage is associated with a number of uncomfortable symptoms. These include oliguria (an unusually small amount of urine production), hematuria (blood in the urine), oedema (excess fluid production in the body), high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), abdominal pain, fatigue and urine that contains particulate matter or is otherwise cloudy.

Kidney Problems

According to, high uric acid levels are also associated with an increased risk for kidney problems. These include kidney stones and—in some instances—renal failure. According to the above source, these risks are increased drastically if you have a pre-existing condition, particularly renal insufficiency, or an abdominal tumour, or if you have been taking nephrotoxic antibiotics (which are toxic to the kidneys, although they can also be used to help regulate kidney function).


Feverish symptoms that result because of high uric acid levels, such as the chills, high body temperature, and fatigue, are typically associated with pre-existing conditions. According to, tumour lysis syndrome—a side effect of cancer treatments—often produces high uric acid levels and the above-mentioned feverish symptoms. This syndrome is commonly caused by chemotherapy, but it can also be triggered by steroidal treatment. Other symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.

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