Uric Acid Test

This is a test done to detect high levels of uric acid, which could be a sign of the condition gout.

Uric acid is a product of the metabolism (breakdown) of purines. Purines are chemicals that come from both the breakdown of foods and nucleic acids (DNA) in the body. If uric acid levels in the body are low, there are no symptoms. Caregivers do not need to test for low levels of uric acid.

Too much uric acid, however, can gather in the body, and this condition should be tested for. Because uric acid is a waste product, the body must get rid of it. Two-thirds of uric acid is disposed of in the urine; the remainder is disposed of in the feces.

Excess uric acid can cause the condition called gout. This can be a result of overproduction of uric acid or a decreased ability of the kidneys to secrete uric acid. Other reasons for high uric acid include leukemia or multiple myeloma (types of cancer), high blood pressure during pregnancy, alcoholism, Down Syndrome, lead poisoning, poor diet, liver disease, obesity, and psoriasis. Stress or very strenuous exercise also can raise uric acid levels. Failure of the kidneys, which means the body is not able to get rid of uric acid fast enough, is another cause of high uric acid levels. A person undergoing chemotherapy or radiation also can have dangerous levels of uric acid in the blood due to the breakdown of tumor cells and the release of purines (and thus uric acid) into the blood. Many drugs also can affect uric acid levels.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Adult

  • Male: 4.0-8.5 mg/dL or 0.24-0.51 mmol/L (SI units)

  • Female: 2.7-7.3 mg/dL or 0.16-0.43 mmol/L (SI units)

  • Elderly: Values may be slightly increased.

  • Child: 2.5-5.5 mg/dL or 0.12-0.32 mmol/L (SI units)

  • Newborn: 2.0-6.2 mg/dL

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.