Gout and Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) limits the amount of waste filtration your body is capable of processing. Uric acid is not seen as a foreign matter to the body, therefore is usually last to be dealt with from a toxin filtering standpoint. This can allow for uric acid build-up, and, in turn, the increased likelihood of developing Gout. The medications used to treat kidney disease have also been associated with drug-induced cases of Gout. Diuretics and beta blockers are typically used for kidney disease induced high blood pressure and are well known to contribute to Gout development.

There is enough scientific research to confirm that kidney disease can cause Gout. How about the opposite? Can Gout lead to kidney disease? The chicken or the egg? Uric acid is filtered through the kidneys, an undeniable relation to both diseases. While this connection may be less established, the evidence is certainly present. Each condition is well-equipped to feed the other.

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Gout and Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones (renal calculi) are formed as a result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. Once they make their way into the urinary tract severe pain in the groin, stomach, or flank area can ensue. A decrease in urination coupled with a large amount of stone-forming substances can cause these types of stones to appear. These stones can be formed by the mixture of calcium with oxalate or phosphate; and/or the combination of uric acid and amino acid cysteine.

Much like Gout, Kidney stones are being diagnosed more and more in recent years. The same type of stones can develop in the bladder as well, but are much more uncommon and have remained relatively low and unchanged by comparison. Over the span of almost 30 years, the Mayo Clinic observed a significant rise in the incidences of kidney stones; particularly in adult women. With more accurate CT scans our ability to monitor and diagnose stones are partly behind a good portion of this rise in cases, but also goes hand in hand with the rise in Obesity and Diabetes Type 2. Diets high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt have been to blame for stones and this type of diet certainly fits the profile for all of these conditions.

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Understanding Uric Acid

Uric Acid

Purines perform multiple important functions within our cells, including regulating energy metabolism and signaling the energy conversion from one to another.  Purines are essentially the building blocks for all living things as a necessity for the growth, proliferation and survival of all cells.  The two purine bases, adenine and guanine, create bonds that form the DNA ladder. Humans breakdown purines and convert them into uric acid.

Uric acid happens to be a potent DNA protector.  All other mammals possess an enzyme known as uricase.  Uricase converts uric acid into allantoin, which can easily travel through the bloodstream and readily eliminated through the urine.  Humans do not possess this enzyme, therefore, we cannot oxidize uric acid into the more soluble compound of allantoin.  Our liver and kidneys are left to do the all-important jobs of purine breakdown and uric acid disposal, conducted respectively.

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Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease

As we know, inflammation is the major underlying factor behind chronic, degenerative diseases.  The body’s cells work very hard to maintain pH balance in the body.  Our typical American diet and lifestyle is largely acidic and makes this process extremely difficult. 

When overly acidic imbalances are present in the body, the cellular health is compromised.  Decreased cellular oxygen levels and metabolic declines cause cells to ‘die off’ at a rapid rate.  As acidic residues increase, the body attempts to buffer these acids with alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) in order to excrete them from the body.  In the presence of such acidic diets and lifestyles, this buffering system can easily reach maximum capability, quickly leading to acidic waste storage in the tissues.

Cells require very specific ion balance.  Electrolytes must be maintained within specific limits to balance the pH of the body’s environment.  Even the slightest acid increases can quickly lead to inflammation of the organs and tissues. Continue reading “Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease”

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