Take Heed: Can an MRI detect uric acid crystals?
Although an MRI scan holds an advantage in identifying deeper areas underlying your skin & flesh and thereby stands efficient in detecting uric acid crystals, it stands underutilized in this regard!
It may be because of the limited MRI infrastructure available to the healthcare providers and its higher expenses!
This might be because uric acid crystals can be easily diagnosed via blood tests & ultrasounds, whereas, many other diseases of your soft tissues & bones require an MRI scan for detailed imaging.
It may also be because an MRI is a highly sensitive imaging test, and the presence of a high amount of calcium may culminate variables in the result, even if the site of involvement & distribution lay significantly visible in an MRI finding!
No wonder clinicians and medical experts have many reasons not to use an MRI for diagnosing uric acid crystals despite its efficiency & decipherability rate! They mostly prefer other medical tests over MRI, such as –
To answer your question,
Yes. An MRI scan can detect uric acid crystals!
What is Uric Acid?
Uric acid is nothing but an insoluble compound or a breakdown product originating from nitrogenous metabolism!
It contains carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, & hydrogen together as – C5H4N4O3.
When you intake proteins, they break down chemicals called purine that stand crucial for your DNA & RNA. Finally, releasing the body as waste products. It is a natural component of urine and may vary in levels from one person to another. While 70% of its disposal happens through the kidneys, there stands about 5 to 25 percent of humans to possess high uric acid because of impaired renal excretion.
Its normal concentration ranges from 25 to 80 milligrams per liter in males and 15 to 60 milligrams per liter in females! When this concentration level cross, a condition of high uric acid, or in other words, hyperuricemia, takes the stage!
High uric acid may bring forth various setbacks & health issues, even though not the terrifying ones!
What are Uric Acid Crystals?
Uric acid crystals, also known as gout crystals, emerge when there lay an excessive amount of uric acid in your bloodstream. The increase of uric acid in the body results from a wide range of factors such as –
Uric Acid Crystals
- Excess red meat, organ meat, and seafood in your regular diet,
- High purine-containing food consumption,
- Frequent intake of over-the-counter painkillers that comprise aspirin,
- Excess Alcohol consumption,
- Existence of certain medical conditions like psoriasis, i.e., a long-term chronic skin disease,
- Pre-existing gout or a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid, and so forth!
The uric acid crystals are typically yellowish in color and sometimes even orange-brown! They may be of various shapes – Diamond, Barrel, Circular, or Plate-like!
Alas! They do not leave a symptom often!
When these crystals start accumulating in your kidneys, stones or hard deposits of salt & minerals are likely to form, throwing signals that they exist!
Uric acid crystals are common & not something to worry about! They are not life-threatening, to be honest!
Normally, the uric acid gets dissolved in your bloodstream and passes through the kidneys, thereby exiting your body as urine. When the level of uric acid production in your body goes high, your kidneys cannot pass the excess amount to your bladder for urine production, and your bloodstream can only dissolve as per its limit. Thus, the acid stays within your body, having no room to leave, and further inculcates the formation of crystals!
Do you know that this crystallization process takes place in between your joints?
The build-up of extra uric acid, when failed to leave the body, occurs in the space between your joints, and it is precisely why you can if at all, feel the pain. When you feel the pain, you must understand that the crystals have caused inflammations in that area, causing trouble and not letting you sleep at night!
They can form in your knees, ankles, wrist, elbows, foot joints, or finger joints and may be visible to you as solid as it is when leaving through urine!
How does an MRI detect uric acid Crystals?
During the process of MRI, strong magnetic fields are used alongside radiofrequency waves to cultivate vivid imaging of your internal body structures, herein, the joints, and areas between your joints. If the crystals have already caused Inflammation and your doctor predicts so, she may order an MRI with contrast!
There isn’t much difference between the process of static MRI and the one involving contrast dye; only in the case of the latter, gadolinium-based contrast agents shall be injected into your veins via an IV needle before you get moved into the scanner.
When you go inside the semi-enclosed tube-like machine or MRI scanner, and the machine is on, the strong magnetic fields shall tend to activate your body protons and try to receive signals from them, while the radiofrequency waves shall catch them and screen them on the monitor console!
Once the images appear on the screen, they will get stored for further sequencing & analysis. The uric acid crystals depositing in deeper areas shall lay visible herein!
You will be moved out of the machine and discharged from the radiology lab. So, you can go back to work or go home & relax!
Are you looking for an MRI scan for the detection of uric acid crystals, as recommended by your doctor? Visit www.mrichandigarh.com and book your test from any NABL-accredited lab in Chandigarh on your own time.
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