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A Comprehensive Guide to Uric Acid Treatment in Ayurveda

What is uric acid?

Uric acid is a naturally occurring waste product resulting from the breakdown of purines, which are substances found in certain foods and formed within the body. It is primarily excreted through urine. While uric acid is a normal component of the blood, elevated levels can lead to health complications, particularly gout, a painful form of arthritis.

Causes of High Uric Acid Levels:

  1. Dietary Factors: Consuming purine-rich foods such as red meat, organ meats, seafood, and high-fructose beverages can contribute to increased uric acid production.
  2. Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to higher uric acid levels, increasing the risk of conditions like gout.
  3. Medical Conditions: Certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome, can impair the body’s ability to efficiently excrete uric acid, leading to elevated levels.
  4. Medications: Some medications, like diuretics and aspirin, can impact uric acid levels by reducing excretion or increasing production.

Symptoms of High Uric Acid:

  1. Joint Pain: Elevated uric acid levels can lead to the formation of urate crystals in joints, causing intense pain, swelling, and redness. This is a hallmark symptom of gout.
  2. Tophi Formation: Tophi are lumps of urate crystals that can develop under the skin or in other tissues, often in advanced stages of gout.
  3. Kidney Stones: Excessive uric acid may contribute to the formation of kidney stones, leading to pain and potential complications.
  4. Limited Joint Mobility: Long-term high uric acid levels may result in joint damage and reduced joint mobility.

Complications Associated with Elevated Uric Acid:

  1. Gout: The most common complication of high uric acid levels, gout is characterized by sudden and severe joint pain, typically affecting the big toe. Recurrent gout attacks can lead to joint damage and deformities.
  2. Kidney Stones: Urate crystals may accumulate in the kidneys, forming stones that obstruct urinary flow and cause pain.
  3. Kidney Damage: Prolonged elevation of uric acid levels may contribute to kidney damage, impairing their function and potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.

Diagnostic Methods:

  1. Blood Tests: Serum uric acid levels are measured through a blood test. Values above the normal range (typically 3.4-7.0 mg/dL) indicate hyperuricemia.
  2. Joint Fluid Analysis: In cases of suspected gout, joint fluid may be extracted for analysis to identify the presence of urate crystals.
  3. Imaging: X-rays or ultrasound may be used to visualize joint damage or the presence of tophi.

Uric Acid Treatment Approaches:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:
    • Dietary Changes: Limiting intake of purine-rich foods and maintaining a balanced diet can help manage uric acid levels.
    • Hydration: Adequate fluid intake promotes the excretion of uric acid through urine.
  2. Medications:
    • Allopurinol: This medication inhibits the enzyme responsible for uric acid production, reducing overall levels.
    • Colchicine: Often prescribed to alleviate gout symptoms, colchicine helps control inflammation.
    • Probenecid: This medication increases uric acid excretion by the kidneys.
  3. Gout Management:
    • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can provide relief from gout-related pain and inflammation.
    • Corticosteroids: In severe cases, corticosteroid medications may be administered to address acute gout symptoms.
  4. Preventive Measures:
    • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing gout and helps manage existing conditions.
    • Regular Exercise: Physical activity aids in weight management and may lower uric acid levels.
    • Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption, particularly beer, is associated with higher uric acid levels.

Uric Acid – Ayurvedic View

High uric acid is called hyperuricemia which is a condition seen in gouty arthritis. Thus, gout can be correlated with a clinical condition called Vatarakta in Ayurveda. The disease Vatarakta has various other names such as Aadhyavata, Khuddavata, Vatabalasa, etc. Both Vata dosha and rakta dhatu are involved in the pathogenesis of the disease, hence the name Vatarakta. It is called Aadhyavata because the rich people and delicate ones are affected by this condition. The word Khudda means smaller joints and because this affects the smaller joints it is known to be Khuddavata.

Etiopathogenesis

The food that is excess of saline, sour, pungent, and alkaline in taste, hot, unctuous, uncooked in nature, excess intake of meat of aquatic and marshy land animals, excess eating of Kulattha (horse gram), Maasha (black gram), Nishpaava shaaka (Dichous lablab), seasamum, leafy vegetables and sugarcane etc. excess of curds and buttermilk etc. are the Aaharaja nidana (dietary etiology).

Ratrijagarana (keeping awake at night), Divaswapna (excess sleep during daytime), excessive ride on Hasti (elephant), Ashwa (horse), and Ushtra (camel), Ativyavaya (excess indulgence of sexual intercourse), Achankramanashilata (no or very little physical activity / sedentary lifestyle), excess Ambukrida (activities in water or water sports), excess Plavana (swimming), Veganigraha (suppression of urges), Sthaulya (obesity), Ashuddhi (improper administration of purificatory procedures) etc. are the lifestyle etiological factors of Vatarakta.

Psychological factors include excess krodha (anger), harsha nityatva (excess laughter), achinta (no worry or grief), etc.

Abhighataja (traumatic factors) are also the causative factors of Vatarakta.

The etiological factors described above vitiate vata dosha and raktha dhatu. The pathway of Vata dosha is obstructed by vitiated raktha dhatu. This in turn manifests the symptoms of the disease Vatarakta

Pre-monitory symptoms

Sparsha agnyana (lack of tactile sensation), Sandhi-shaithilya (laxity of joints), Vaivarnyata (discoloration of the body), Mandalotpatti (eruption of rashes), Pidikodgamana ((eruption of pustules), Swedo – atyartham na va (excessive perspiration or absence of perspiration), Guruta, Supti and Kandu in janu-jangha-uru-kati-hasta-padaanga sandhi (heaviness, numbness and itching in knee-legs-thighs-waist-joints of hands and feet), etc. are the premonitory symptoms of Vatarakta

Types and Signs and Symptoms

The main symptom is severe pain, tenderness, inflammation, and burning sensation in the affected joints.

There are two types of Vatarakta explained based on their location:
1. Uttana vatarakta
2. Gambhira vatarakta.

  • Uttana Vatarakta: The vitiated dosha are seated in Twak and Mamsa dhatu and the symptoms manifested are Kandu (itching), Toda (pricking pain), Akunchana (contraction) and the skin becomes Shyavarakta (blackish-red colored) or Tamra varna (copper colored). This is the superficial stage of the Vatarakta.
  • Gambhira Vatarakta: The vitiated dosha are deep-seated and involve Asthi dhatu. Shvayathu (edema), Stabdhata (numbness), Shyava-tamra varna of Twak (dusky red-colored or coppery-colored skin), Daha (burning sensation), Sphurana (throbbing kind of pain) are the symptoms of Gambhira type of Vatarakta. The pain in this stage is very intense and spreads like Aakhora visha (rat poison).

High Uric Acid Treatment in Ayurveda

The line of treatment followed to treat Vatarakta is Shodhana Chikitsa, Shamana Chikitsa, and Bahirparimarjana Chikitsa

Shodhana Chikitsa includes Snehana karma (oleation therapy), Swedana karma (sudation therapy) Virechana (purgation therapy), Basti (enema therapy with both decoction and medicated oil or ghee), Rakta mokshana Chikitsa (blood-letting therapy).

Since Raktha dhatu is involved in the pathogenesis, pitta dosha also gets vitiated as it resides in raktha dhatu. Virechana karma can be done with the help of medicines such as Trivrit choorna with Ksheera/Eranda taila with Ksheera etc.

Basti can be administered with medicines like Ghritha Mishritha Ksheera Basti, etc. Rakta mokshana therapy can be done with Jalauka (leech therapy), Alabu (dried gourd), Shringa (cow’s horn), Siravyadhana karma (puncturing vein with the sharp needle), and Prachanna karma (the sharp instrument is used to do blood-letting therapy).

Besides these purificatory measures, for Shamana Chikitsa and Bahirparimarjana Chikitsa (external treatment such as application of medicated oil/ paste/ oleation/etc.), the drugs used to treat Vatarakta should possess Vatashamaka (vata dosha pacifying) and Mutra virechaka (diuretics that help in the excretion of excess uric acid present in the body). Since raktha dhatu is vitiated drugs that possess rakta shodhaka (blood purifiers) are also administered.

Treatment depends on the dosha located and the intensity of the dosha involved in the pathogenesis.

Diet and lifestyle

Cereals like old varieties of barley, wheat, rice, variety of rice, which is as old as sixty days, soups of pulses like Mudga (green gram), Masura (lentils), Aadhaki (pigeon pea), Chanaka (chickpea), etc. with enough amount of ghee Vegetables such as Kakamachi (Solanum nigrum), Vastuka (Chenopodium album), etc., milk of cow, goat and buffalo are to be consumed as a diet for Vatarakta.

Avoid intake of spicy, alkaline, salt food items, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, alcohol, and incompatible foods, excess exercise, sexual intercourse, avoid sleep during the daytime, avoid exposure to heat, etc. in the condition of Vatarakta.

Uric Acid Home Remedies

  • Castor leaves: A paste of castor leaves is made, and a small amount of crystal salt is added. This mixture is made warm. Apply this mixture (lukewarm) over the affected joints twice a day till the pain and swelling are reduced.
  • Linseeds: Linseeds are soaked in buttermilk overnight and the next day the paste is made. The paste is applied over the affected joints till the pain of the joints is relieved.

Conclusion

Vatarakta is called the disease of the rich who lead a sedentary life and hence is also named Aadhyavata and since the smaller joints are mainly affected it has the synonym of Khuddavata. Vatarakta is the disease manifesting due to vitiated vata dosha and rakta dhatu. The pathway of vata dosha is obstructed by raktha dhatu and thus pain, swelling, and burning sensation in the joints especially the smaller joints is felt.

Uttana, and Gambhira are the two types explained based on the location of dosha located in the tissues. Basti and Raktamokshana are the main treatment modalities of Vatarakta. The drugs possessing vata shamana, raktha shodhana, mutra virechana are the choice of medicines to eliminate excess uric acid accumulated in the body. A restricted diet containing excess pungent, alkaline, salt foods, incompatible foods, curds, etc. plays a major role in treating Vatarakta.

Uric acid plays a crucial role in the body, but elevated levels can lead to various health complications, with gout being the most prevalent. Addressing the causes, recognizing symptoms, and implementing appropriate treatments are vital in managing high uric acid levels. Lifestyle modifications, medication, and preventive measures collectively contribute to an effective and comprehensive approach to mitigating the impact of elevated uric acid on overall health. Individuals experiencing symptoms or at risk of complications should consult healthcare professionals for personalized guidance and treatment plans.

NOTE: “This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this WebSite. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.” For more information on High Uric Acid Treatment in Ayurveda call us at +919945850945. Limited consultations per day with prior appointments only.
References
  1. https://ijapr.in/index.php/ijapr/article/download/736/666/
  2. https://www.ijhsr.org/IJHSR_Vol.10_Issue.9_Sep2020/26.pdf
  3. http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/1571_1574.pdf
  4. https://pharmeasy.in/blog/home-remedies-for-gout/

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