If you suffer from gout you are likely aware that there is a connection between high uric acid, kidney stones and your disease, but you may not understand why – or what the presence of kidney stones reveals about the development of your disease.
Both gout and kidney stones are caused by excess chemicals building up and causing the formation of crystals in your body. In the case of gout the culprit is uric acid, although kidney stones can form from a number of sources. Uric acid kidney stones might not be the most common (calcium stones have that dubious distinction) but they do occur and, sadly, they’re a reality for some gout sufferers. Not all uric acid crystals attack the joints, as they do in a flare-up. Sometimes they collect in your urinary tract, which is what causes the pain of a kidney stone.
It is important for individuals with gout to remember that the development of kidney stones points to the advancement of your disease, even you aren’t experiencing typical joint pain and inflammation. The occurrence of kidney stones in gout patients like you means that there is still an excess of uric acid building up, and that all efforts should be made to get your symptoms under control whether through diet, medication or a combination.
If uric acid kidney stones and gout are related, does this mean that if you have been diagnosed with the disease you are destined to a lifetime of problems with kidney stones as well, not to mention inevitable flare-ups of pain and joint inflammation common to gout? Of course not – although there is a connection, not everyone who gets gout also gets this type of kidney trouble.
Knowing that gout can lead to this painful complication only means that you should take precautions and to follow a diet and lifestyle that makes this development less likely. For example:
- Make hydration a priority. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, especially when exercising, and allow the kidneys to flush out excess uric acid.
- Avoid alcohol, especially beer, as it contains purines which convert to uric acid in the body, while it also dehydrates the body, and decreases your body’s ability to excrete that acid.
- Stay away from sugary beverages as well as they can also increase purine levels.
- Avoid red meats, organ meats, shellfish and some seafood. All are high in purines.
- Get exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a gout trigger and by combining eating a healthy low purine diet along with exercise, while following your doctor’s recommendations in this area, can really help decrease complications from gout.
A little caution and common sense go a long way toward preventing uric acid kidney stones, not to mention making a healthy life a reality. Check with your physician before starting any diet or exercise plan to be sure it is right for your needs.