Uric acid is the root of all gout pain.
But how can a weak compound like uric acid cause so much pain and misery?
When you understand the answer to that question, you will be in a much better position to understand and manage your uric acid.
I know many people want simple answers and clear instructions to manage their gout. I provide help pages on all aspects of uric acid. So that you can find practical answers fast. However, I believe that you will get better treatment if you understand gout better.
To understand gout, you need to understand its root cause – uric acid.
These guidelines cover the following topics:
- What Is Gout?
- Understanding Uric Acid, especially, Uric Acid Levels.
- The Uric Acid Gout Pain Pathway
- Uricases and Uricase Enzyme
These are my summaries of uric acid studies and investigations that help you understand the nature of uric acid and how it affects your gout. Please note that I am currently reviewing all pages in this section. Because I am changing them to step-by-step formats. So, if you want an email notice when I republish pages, please subscribe to my free update service.
What Is Gout?
My simple definition is:
An immune system reaction to uric acid crystals.
I explain that in more detail below, but answering “What is gout?” is clearer if I explain what it is not. There are many misunderstandings about all aspects of gout and uric acid. Because reckless publishers on the Internet are propagating these myths. My purpose is to expose these myths and establish facts. Learning why these myths are false is also a great way to test your health advisers. Do they really know gout, or are they just spouting outdated trash? Find out in my What Is Gout guidelines.
Understanding Uric Acid
These articles explain what uric acid is, why we need it, and how various factors can cause uric acid to go out of control.
Uric Acid Levels
Understanding uric acid levels is the most important thing you need to learn to control your gout. You cannot rely on doctors, as many simply do not understand what the levels mean. Check your levels today then see my advice.
- Uric Acid Levels
- Uric acid levels can be confusing. Read this introduction to see what your test results really mean.
- Uric Acid Level Charts
- Simple diagrams to explain different uric acid levels. Graphically show the difference between meaningless statistics and medical uric acid levels chart.
- Uric Acid Level Ranges
- Exact numbers for different uric acid level ranges. Also, explanations of medical uric acid levels for each range:
- Normal Uric Acid Levels
- Normal uric acid is a common target for gout treatment, but what does it really mean. Learn to avoid using normal for uric acid levels, as it is widely misused and dangerous for gout control.
- High Uric Acid Levels
- Though we know that elevated uric acid is one of the main symptoms of gout. How high is too high? See why you have to have your own personal targets.
- Uric Acid Level
- Your uric acid level is vital to help you fix your gout. But when you start checking you see it fluctuate. Don’t worry – just look for a healthy range.
Never settle for high, low, or normal. Always insist on getting your levels safe.
More Understanding UA Topics
- Uric Acid Test
- Uric acid tests are vital to diagnosing and treating gout. How do you know which test you need? What do test results mean? Get the right test now.
- Uric Acid Test Kit
- A test kit is easy to use, yet provides vital information on your uric acid levels. It helps you stay in control of your gout, but don’t even think of buying one without reading these guidelines.
- Uric Acid Concentration
- Concentration is measured by the amount of uric acid dissolved in your blood. It is vital to know your number, but what does mg/dL mean? Use this calculator for easy conversion between different scales.
- Hyperuricemia means uric acid is too high. But how high is too high? Learn the secrets of hyperuricemia to discuss it with your doctor. Fix it & you fix gout.
Uric Acid Pain Pathway
The Uric Acid Pain Pathway starts with high uric acid, and ends when you get it under control. The pathway broadly consists of four steps:
The pages explain how increased uric acid occurs, and how changing uric acid levels cause crystals to form or dissolve.
These articles explain how crystals form deposits in different parts of the body, how those uric acid deposits cause immune system response, and how the deposits can also cause permanent physical damage to joints (bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons) and organs. When organ damage occurs, it usually involves skin, kidneys and heart, but all organs are at risk, as I explain in my tophi guidelines.
Uric Acid Blood & Immune Response
These articles explain how acute gout pain arises from the immune system response to invading uric acid crystals. This response is the R in UDRP – a reaction that produces joint inflammation which leads to the pain of an acute gout flare.
Uric Acid Gout Pain
These articles discuss different manifestations of gout pain, and how permanent solutions to pain require uric acid control before irreversible physical damage leads to surgery.
Though the main symptom is the pain, overloading the immune system causes many more symptoms including fever, chills, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of being ill that might cause anxiety.
My detailed explanations of symptoms are coming soon.
Other Uric Acid Pain Pathway Issues
Please see my original explanation of the UDRP Uric Acid Pain Pathway:-
- Knowing the causes of gout helps you overcome it
- All causes of gout relate to uric acid. Understand what is happening and you are better placed to overcome pain. Also, reduce the chance of repeat attacks.
It has stood the test of time, being a prime resource for explaining how uric acid causes gout pain. If you can think of any ways to improve it, please let me know in the uric acid forums.
Uricases and Uricase Enzyme
When we talk of uricase, we normally refer to the human uricase enzyme. Which we’ve now lost to evolution. But there are other forms of uricase that are important to gout sufferers. So I group these together as uricases.
Generally speaking, uricases convert uric acid to allantoin which passes harmlessly in urine in most animals. But because we no longer have the uricase enzyme, humans are at risk of gout-causing excess uric acid.
In recent years, scientists have developed artificial uricases for treating gout. So I explain rasburicase, pegloticase (Krystexxa), and similar in the uricase treatments pages.
In this section, I will explain uricases in general terms.
Next Uric Acid Steps
You have learned that uric acid lies at the heart of gout. So, to manage gout properly you have to understand uric acid and the three different ways it causes pain.
Read all the pages in this section to get the fullest understanding of uric acid.
If you continue to be confused by uric acid, you should discuss it in the Uric Acid Forums.