Tuesday, August 24, 2010
igher-than-normal amounts of uric acid in the blood, a condition called hyperuricemia, is quite common and only rarely warrants medical treatment. On the other hand, sustained hyperuricemia is the primary risk factor for gout. It’s safe to say that, while not all people with hyperuricemia develop gout, virtually everyone with gout is hyperuricemic.It works this way:At normal and even somewhat elevated levels, uric acid stays in solution in the blood. It moves through the circulation, gets filtered by the kidneys, and is excreted in the urine.When, however, blood uric acid levels rise above a certain concentration (which varies with temperature and blood acidity), it forms needle-like crystals that lodge in or around a joint.In response to irritation caused by uric acid crystals, the skin covering the affected area rapidly becomes tight, inflamed, swollen, and red or purplish.These classical signs of inflammation, together with sudden and extreme pain, strongly suggest an acute attack of gout. The diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory finding of uric acid crystals in fluid taken from the affected joint.