Uric acid - blood

What is Uric Acid and why it is important to know

Uric acid is a waste product that forms from the breakdown of purines in the body. Your body breaks purines down in your digestive system and produces uric acid, which is released into the blood. It's natural for everyone to have some amount of uric acid in their body, but too much of it may indicate a health problem, such as gout or kidney stones.

Types of Uric Acid

Uric acid can come in two types: soluble or insoluble.

  • Soluble uric acid can dissolve in water easily and is more common among healthy individuals.
  • Insoluble uric acid is not able to dissolve in water and can form solid crystals. This type of uric acid is more common among those with gout.

Uric Acid Test

A uric acid test measures the amount of uric acid in your blood. It is a simple and painless test. The general uric acid level range for adults is 3.4 and 7.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Your doctor may adjust this range according to your age, sex, and other medical conditions.

Preparation for a Uric Acid Test

There are no unusual preparations needed prior to a uric acid test. Your doctor may ask you to fast for 8 to 12 hours prior to the test. The only necessary preparation is to make sure that the test is scheduled on a day you are available for it. It is best to tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, and vitamins you may be taking as well.

Uric Acid Test Procedure

The procedure is simple and should only take a few minutes. A phlebotomist will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. The sample will be sent to a lab where it will be tested for uric acid levels. Results usually take a few days.

Risks of a Uric Acid Test

A uric acid test is a safe procedure that carries little to no risks. The only possible risk is light discomfort during the blood draw. Some people may experience redness at the puncture site or minor bruising. These reactions are usually mild and go away quickly.

What a High Uric Acid Level Suggests

A high uric acid level could indicate gout, kidney stones, or other metabolic diseases. Some medications, such as diuretics or chemotherapy agents, can also raise levels. Diet can also affect uric acid levels. A diet high in purines may increase your levels of uric acid.

When to Get a Uric Acid Test

Your doctor may suggest a uric acid test if you have the symptoms of gout, such as joint pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. Your doctor may also recommend this test if you have a history of kidney stones or if other tests, such as a creatinine clearance or urinalysis, indicate an abnormality.