Cathleen Burns DCN, RDN, LDN
Gout and the Link to Kidney Disease
Gout affects about 3 million Americans with approximately one in five people having a high uric acid level. It is a very painful and common form of inflammatory arthritis that affects one joint at a time (often the big toe joint) (1). Gout results from excess uric acid in the body known as hyperuricemia. Uric acid is produced during the breakdown of purines, which are found in certain foods and produced by your body. Hyperuricemia does not always cause gout but the problem occurs when excess uric acid forms crystals (monosodium urate) which invade joints, fluids, and tissues within the body (1, 2).
Increased risk factors for the development of Gout include:
Medications such as diuretics
Consuming high fructose foods
Eating Purine-rich foods include red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.
Having certain health conditions, including:
Congestive heart failure
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Poor kidney function
Gout left untreated can become a chronic problem that can affect multiple joints at once creating constant pain. Chronic Hyperuricemia leads to the development of tophi (hard uric acid deposits under the skin) and kidney stones.
Kidney stones can damage kidneys by blocking the kidneys from removing waste products which can contribute to infections. Stones can also scar the kidney leading to chronic kidney disease, and even kidney failure (3).
Kidney disease is diagnosed with two simple tests:
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR): a blood test that checks how well the kidneys are filtering wastes from your blood.
Albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR): a urine test that shows if protein (albumin) levels are too high, which may mean kidney damage
Preventing high Uric Acid
Consuming Vitamin C may help lower uric acid levels. Talk to your doctor about whether a 500-milligram vitamin C supplement fits into your diet and medication plan. Some research suggests that drinking regular caffeinated coffee in moderation may help reduce the risk of gout. Stay well-hydrated by drinking water. Research has found benefits of eating cherries to a reduction in gout attacks (4).