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    Uric acid - blood

    Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks. These include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, and beer.

    Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys. From there, it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or doesn't remove enough if it, you can get sick. A high level of uric acid in the blood is called hyperuricemia.

    This test checks to see how much uric acid you have in your blood. Another test can be used to check the level of uric acid in your urine.

    How the Test is Performed

    A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You should not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test unless told otherwise.

    Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.

    • Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
    • Do not stop or change your medications without talking to your doctor first.

    Your doctor may also tell you to stop taking any drugs that may affect the test results. Never stop taking any medicine without talking to your doctor.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done to see if you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. High levels of uric acid can cause gout or kidney disease.

    Your doctor may also order this test if you have had or are about to have certain types of chemotherapy. Rapid weight loss, which may occur with such treatments, can increase the amount of uric acid in your blood.

    Normal Results

    Normal values range between 3.5 and 7.2 mg/dL.

    Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    The example above shows the common measurement rangefor results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Greater-than-normal levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) may be due to:

    • Acidosis
    • Alcoholism
    • Chemotherapy-related side effects
    • Diabetes
    • Excessive exercise
    • Gout
    • Hypoparathyroidism
    • Lead poisoning
    • Leukemia
    • Medullary cystic kidney disease
    • Nephrolithiasis
    • Polycythemia vera
    • Purine-rich diet
    • Renal failure
    • Toxemia of pregnancy

    Lower-than-normal levels of uric acid may be due to:

    • Fanconi syndrome
    • Low purine diet
    • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) secretion
    • Wilson's disease

    Other reasons this test may be performed include:

    • Chronic gouty arthritis
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Injury of the kidney and ureter

    References

    Edwards NL. Crystal deposition diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 281.

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      Tests for Uric acid - blood

      Review Date: 4/29/2013

      Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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