Uric Acid Test (Blood Analysis)

Written by Amber Erickson Gabbey | Published on July 25, 2012
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, FACP

Uric Acid and the Uric Acid Blood Test

A uric acid blood test, also known as a serum uric acid measurement, determines how much uric acid is present in your blood. The test can help determine how well your body produces and removes uric acid.

Uric acid is a chemical produced when your body breaks down foods that contain organic compounds called purines. These foods include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans, beer, and wine. Purines are also created through the natural process of cell breakdown in the body.

Most uric acid is dissolved in the blood, filtered through the kidneys, and expelled in the urine. Sometimes, the body produces too much uric acid or does not filter out enough of it. Hyperuricemia is the disorder that occurs when you have too much uric acid in your body. One cause of hyperuricemia is increased cell death, due to cancer or cancer treatments, can lead to an accumulation of uric acid in the body.

It is also possible to have too little uric acid in your blood, which is a symptom of liver or kidney disease, or Fanconi syndrome, a disorder of the kidney tubules that prevents the absorption of substances such as glucose and uric acid, which are then passed in the urine.

Purposes of a Uric Acid Blood Test

Most commonly, the test is used to:

  • diagnose and monitor patients with gout
  • monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • check kidney function post-injury
  • determine the cause of kidney stones
  • diagnose kidney disorders

Preparing for a Uric Acid Blood Test

Alcohol, certain medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen or Motrin, high levels of vitamin C, and dyes used in X-ray tests may interfere with the uric acid test results. Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you are taking.

You may need to fast (refrain from eating or drinking) for four hours before the test.

How a Uric Acid Blood Test Is Done

The process of obtaining a blood sample for testing is called venipuncture.

Your doctor or a health care provider will take blood from a vein, usually from your inner elbow or the back of your hand. First, your doctor will sterilize the area with an antiseptic. He or she will then wrap an elastic band around your arm to allow blood to fill the veins.

Then a needle will be inserted into a vein. The blood will be collect in an attached vial. Once the blood has been collected, the plastic band will be untied and the needle removed from the vein. Pressure will be applied to the site of the needle entry and a bandage will be applied if necessary.

For infants and young children, a small cut may be made on the arm and a test strip or slide used to collect a small sample of blood. The area is then cleaned and bandaged if necessary.

 

Once collected, the blood is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

What do the Test Results Mean?

Normal results are between 3.5 and 7.2 milligrams of uric acid per deciliter of blood (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 may suggest:

  • diabetes
  • gout (recurring attacks of acute arthritis)
  • chemotherapy
  • bone marrow disorders (such as leukemia)
  • a diet high in purines
  • hypoparathyroidism (decreased parathyroid gland function)
  • kidney disorders (such as acute kidney failure)
  • kidney stones
  • multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells in your bone marrow)
  • metastasized cancer (cancer that has spread from its original site)

Low levels of uric acid in the blood may suggest:

  • Wilson’s disease (an inherited disorder in which your tissues contain too much copper)
  • Fanconi syndrome (a kidney tube disorder)
  • alcoholism
  • liver or kidney disease
  • a diet low in purines

The Risks of a Uric Acid Blood Test

Blood draws are routine and very safe. The risks associated with a uric acid blood test are the same as those associated with any blood draw, and may include:

  • pain or discomfort at the puncture site
  • bleeding
  • fainting or lightheadedness
  • blood accumulating under the skin (hematoma or bruising)
  • infection at the puncture site
Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.


Show Sources

Trending Now

Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
There is not just one type of migraine. Chronic migraine is one subtype of migraine. Understand what sets these two conditions apart.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Leading a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in your COPD symptoms. Learn more about basic changes that will make it easier to manage your COPD.
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
From first exposure to life-threatening complications, learn how quickly an allergy attack can escalate and why it can become life threatening.
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
There are a number of potential causes of back pain, but one you might not know about is ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Find out five warning signs of AS in this slideshow.
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
The symptoms of RA are more than just joint pain and stiffness. Common symptoms include loss of feeling, muscle pain, and more. Learn more in this slideshow.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement