If your doctor says you have elevated uric acid levels, you’re in trouble. I avoid the word ‘elevated’ – to me, you have dangerous uric acid levels.
I list a range of dangerous uric acid levels in my Uric Acid Level Ranges. If your uric acid is in the dangerous range, it is very unhealthy. Many doctors will accept elevated uric acid, but you must insist on safe uric acid levels to avoid the dangers of gout. Before I explain the dangers, let’s look at the numbers.
Dangerous Uric Acid Levels Measurement Scale
Uric acid numbers always have a measurement scale. The most common scale is mg/dL, but other scales are used, and mixing them up makes the numbers meaningless.
When drinking, you might confuse liters and pints. In gout, you might confuse mg/dL with mmol/L or with μmol/L.
The measurement scale is often obvious as mg/dL is usually in single or double digits; mmol/L is usually in decimal fractions, and μmol/L is usually in hundreds. Unfortunately, people remember the numbers and forget the scale. I’ve heard from many gout sufferers who think risks are low because they remember their uric acid number as “about 8,” If they actually mean 0.80 mmol/L, they are off the scale for dangerous gout.
Always be sure of your uric acid number, and always quote the measurement scale.
Dangerous Uric Acid Levels
Uric acid crystals form, at body temperature, at 6.8mg/dL. My cut-off point is somewhat arbitrary at 0.5mg/dL above that. I define the dangerous uric acid levels range as:
Over 7.2mg/dl or over 0.43mmol/L or over 428μmol/L
You can convert uric acid concentration between different measurement scales with my uric acid calculator.
Dangerous Uric Acid Levels Warnings
In the dangerous uric acid range, gout attacks are inevitable. As gout crystals grow very slowly, early attacks are often far apart. You may go for months, even years, in the early stages of gout, without a flare. But just because you do not feel any pain, does not mean gout is cured.
New uric acid crystals grow slowly every day. Even when you do not notice them, they can start to destroy cartilage, bone, and tendons. Crystals spread into more and more joints until all are affected. They spread beyond joints into other tissues putting your organs at risk. Skin, kidneys, and heart are commonly damaged by uric acid crystals, but any organ can be affected. If in doubt about how dangerous uric acid crystals are, read Can Gout Kill You?
There are no physical effects of dangerously high uric acid. It is not the dissolved uric acid that causes harm, it is the deposits of uric acid crystals that are dangerous. You might go for a long time without a major flare up, but they will become more frequent, more widespread, and more intense unless you get uric acid safe.
If you hear ‘elevated uric acid,’ be frightened. Elevated uric acid is dangerous. It can take many years for symptoms to become serious, but you should act as soon as you can. Gout can cause permanent damage to your body. Do not let that happen just because your doctor says your uric acid levels are elevated when he should say dangerous.
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