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Uric Acid

What Is Uric Acid?

Uric acid is made from the breakdown of purines during digestion and cell death. It is processed by the liver and leaves the body in urine and stool.

Reason for the Test

The test checks uric acid levels in the blood. A uric acid test may be needed:

  • If symptoms point to a health problem caused by high uric acid levels
  • To track uric acid levels when a health problem is found
  • During chemotherapy treatment for cancer

Uric acid levels can be higher in the blood because the body is making more uric acid, less uric acid is passed from the body, or both.

Type of Sample Taken

A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm.

Prior to Collecting the Sample

You may be asked to fast before the test. Tell your doctor about any medicines or supplements you are taking. They may affect the test results.

During the Sample Collection

You will be asked to sit. An area inside your elbow will be cleaned. A large band will be tied around your arm. The needle will then be inserted into a vein. A tube will collect the blood from the needle. The band on your arm will be removed. Once all the blood is collected, the needle will be removed. Some gauze will be placed over the site to help stop bleeding. You may also be given a bandage to place over the site. The process takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

After Collecting the Sample

After the blood sample is taken, you may need to stay seated for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are lightheaded, you may need to stay seated longer. When you feel better, you can leave.

A bit of blood may ooze from the vein beneath the skin. It will cause a bruise. Firm pressure over the site after the needle is removed will decrease the chance of a bruise. A bruise will usually fade in a day or 2.

Call your doctor right away if you have redness, swelling, lasting bleeding, or pain.

Results

Results should take a few days. Normal ranges differ by age and gender.

Higher than normal uric acid levels are linked to:

  • Gout—uric acid crystals buildup in the joints, and cause pain and swelling
  • Kidney problems
  • Breakdown of tissues in the body
  • High protein diets
  • Health problems such as heart disease, anemia, cancer, or diabetes
  • Chemotherapy
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Alcohol use disorder

Lower than normal uric acid levels are linked to:

  • Certain medicines
  • Wilson disease
  • Fanconi syndrome

Your doctor will talk to you about the results. A test may point to an illness that you do not have. It can also miss an illness that you may have. The doctor will check your symptoms and all test results before making a diagnosis.

REFERENCES:

Serum uric acid measurement. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/lab-monograph/serum-uric-acid-measurement. Updated October 8, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Uric acid. Lab Tests Online—American Association of Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/uric-acid. Updated May 2, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole S. Meregian, PA  Last Updated: 10/25/2019