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What causes uric acid?

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Quick Answer

The body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, according to MedlinePlus. Everyone produces uric acid, but healthy individuals filter it from the blood via the kidneys. Some conditions and lifestyle choices can cause people to enter a state called hyperuricemia, which can have adverse affects on health.

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Full Answer

Genetic factors and lifestyle choices contribute to higher uric acid levels, explains Medscape. Drinking too much alcohol causes the body to process nucleotides too rapidly, leading to higher levels of uric acid in blood plasma. In addition, a person's age, gender and kidney function lead to hyperuricemia.

Certain conditions, medications and diets also encourage hyperuricemia, according to WebMD. Blood cancers affect the way the body metabolizes cells, leading to higher uric acid levels. Conditions affecting the liver, such as alcoholism, preeclampsia, psoriasis and hypothyroidism have the same effect. Diets that affect uric acid levels include eating foods that are high in purines and being malnourished. Medications like diuretics, vitamin c, warfarin and treatments for leukemia also lead to hyperuricemia.

When a person has hyperuricemia, he may experience gout or have no negative effects at all, notes Mayo Clinic. Some individuals may also develop kidney stones or kidney disease, and others can experience cardiovascular conditions. Although hyperuricemia has an association with gout, experiencing it does not mean gout is a definite diagnosis, according to Medscape.

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