"Uric acid is a product of the metabolic breakdown of purine nucleotides, and it is a normal component of urine. Uric acid is produced by the breakdown of purines. Purines are chemicals that come from nucleic acids (DNA, RNA). They enter the circulation from digestion of foods or from normal breakdown and turnover of cells in the body. Most uric acid is removed by the kidneys and disposed of in the urine; the remainder is excreted in the faeces.
If too much uric acid is produced or not enough is excreted, it can accumulate. The presence of excess uric acid can cause the condition called gout � an inflammation that occurs in joints when crystals derived from uric acid form in the joint fluid.
The most common reasons for accumulation of uric acid are an inherited tendency to overproduce uric acid or poor kidney function which gives decreased ability to excrete uric acid. Doctors don't need to test for low levels of uric acid.
The following may interfere with your uric acid test results:
- certain medications, such as aspirin (Bufferin) and ibuprofen (Motrin IB)
- high levels of vitamin C
- dyes used in X-ray tests
Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you?re taking.
You may need to fast (refrain from eating or drinking) for four hours before the test.
Your uric acid blood test results can help determine what treatments are appropriate. In some cases, you may not need treatment.
If your doctor diagnoses you with gout, treatment could include taking medications to reduce pain and swelling. Dietary changes to cut back on purines can also help. Changing your diet can also benefit you if you have chronic uric acid kidney stones.
If you?re undergoing different chemotherapy treatments, you may need frequent blood test monitoring to make sure your uric acid levels don?t become too high.
Uric acid levels can vary based on sex. Normal values for women are 2.5 to 7.5 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) and for men 4.0 to 8.5 mg/dL. However, the values may vary based on the lab doing the testing.
According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), your target level if you have gout is a blood uric acid level of less than 6.0 mg/dL. Low levels of uric acid are less common than high levels and are less of a health concern.
High levels of uric acid in your blood typically indicate that your body is making too much uric acid or that your kidneys aren?t removing enough uric acid from your body. Having cancer or undergoing cancer treatment can also raise your uric acid levels.
High uric acid levels in your blood can also indicate of a variety of conditions, including:
- gout, which involves recurring attacks of acute arthritis
- bone marrow disorders, such as leukemia
- a diet high in purines
- hypoparathyroidism, which is a decrease in your parathyroid function
- kidney disorders, such as acute kidney failure
- kidney stones
- multiple myeloma, which is cancer of the plasma cells in your bone marrow
- metastasized cancer, which is cancer that has spread from its original site
The blood uric acid test isn?t considered a definitive test for gout. Only testing a person?s joint fluid for monosodium urate can absolutely confirm the presence of gout. However, your doctor can make an educated guess based on high blood levels and your gout symptoms.
Also, it?s possible to have high uric acid levels without the symptoms of gout. This is known as asymptomatic hyperuricemia.
Low levels of uric acid in the blood may suggest:
- Wilson?s disease, which is an inherited disorder that causes copper to build up in your body tissues
- Fanconi syndrome, which is a kidney disorder most commonly caused by cystinosis
- liver or kidney disease
- a diet low in purines
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