Correcting High Uric-Acid Levels
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My recent blood test revealed a high uric-acid level of 17. What does this indicate? How can I correct it? I am 82.
— Trudy, Canada
The first thing to determine, of course, is the cause of your high uric-acid level. There are many possibilities: gout, renal failure, treatment with diuretics or water pills, leukemia, lymphoma, polycythemia (an increase in red cells), low thyroid, multiple myeloma, anemia, lead poisoning, the list goes on. There are drugs available to reduce uric-acid levels and treat gout.
Uric acid can increase with age. Having a high level of uric acid does not necessarily mean you will develop gout. However, a long duration of high uric acid is more likely to result in crystal deposition and acute attacks of gout. Since you did not mention that you're experiencing any symptoms, you either do not have gout or the situation is asymptomatic. Most physicians feel that it is appropriate to give specific medications to reduce uric acid when the patient is under 40 years of age. It is not clear that medication is necessary for older persons. You should return to the doctor who ordered the blood test to discuss how he or she interprets your high gout levels and whether you need treatment.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Rheumatic Diseases Center.
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