Normal uric-acid levels range between 3.9 and 7.0 mg/dL in the blood. When uric-acid levels climb above 7.0 mg/dL, a condition called hyperuricemia may occur. High levels of uric acid and hyperuricemia must be treated, or it can lead to medical problems, including gout (a form of arthritis caused by deposits of uric-acid crystals in the blood).
Elevated uric-acid levels can be caused by diet, and can be treated by altering the diet in certain cases. When a person eats certain foods that contain purines, such as mackerel, liver and sardines, the body produces uric acid as a result of breaking down the food. Eating these foods in excess can cause elevated uric-acid levels, so eliminating these foods can help reduce uric acid. Diet therapy can also help those who have elevated uric acid caused by conditions unrelated to diet. For example, drinking black cherry juice and eating lots of fruit (especially strawberries) can help reduce uric-acid levels in the body.
Often, elevated uric-acid levels are caused by an underlying condition. For example, renal failure, diabetes, chemotherapy (administered in the treatment of cancer), toxic pregnancy, alcoholism, acidosis, lead poisoning and hypoparathyroidism can all cause elevated uric-acid levels. Whenever possible, the best method of treating the high uric-acid levels is to treat the underlying condition. If the underlying condition cannot be treated, the high levels of uric acid may be a persistent and chronic problem that can be treated with medication, but not eliminated or cured.
If the underlying cause of the elevated uric acid can't be resolved, the best method of treatment may be to treat the hyperuricemia as a chronic condition and medicate the condition. This involves prescribing medications that either encourage the body to excrete more uric acid, or prevent the body from making or absorbing uric acid. One drug, Probenecid, prevents the body from absorbing urates. Allupurinol, febuxostate and sulfinpyrazone all work to prevent the body form producing uric acid and/or to encourage the body to excrete uric acid.