A high uric acid level can be caused when your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys don't eliminate uric acid rapidly enough.

A high uric acid level may cause increasingly frequent attacks of gout, or it may never cause problems. A high uric acid level may also cause some people to develop kidney stones or kidney failure. And some people with a high uric acid level also develop high blood pressure, heart disease or chronic kidney disease, but it's often unclear whether this is a direct cause or merely an early warning sign of these conditions.

Factors that may cause a high uric acid level in your blood include:

  1. Diuretic medications (water pills)
  2. Drinking too much alcohol
  3. Genetics (inherited tendencies)
  4. Hypothyroidism (a thyroid disorder)
  5. Immune-suppressing drugs
  6. Niacin, or vitamin B-3
  7. Obesity
  8. Psoriasis
  9. Purine-rich diet — organ meat, game meat, anchovies, herring, gravy, dried beans, dried peas, mushrooms and other foods
  10. Renal insufficiency — inability of the kidneys to filter waste
  11. Tumor lysis syndrome — a rapid release of cells into the blood caused by certain cancers or by chemotherapy for those cancers

Also, you may be monitored for high uric acid levels when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Dec. 14, 2012