Uric acid in blood

Uric acid is a byproduct of the natural breakdown process of the foods that one eats and of the cells in the body. The levels of uric acid in blood are measured via a blood uric acid test.

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The kidneys filter out a majority of uric acid from the blood and eliminate it from the body along with urine. Some quantity is removed via stool. Excess production of uric acid or any kind of kidney malfunction that hampers efficient removal of uric acid from the body can result in increase in the levels of uric acid in blood.

Elevated uric acid in blood can result in formation of solid crystals in joints which then causes gout, a painful ailment. Untreated cases of gout can lead to accumulation of crystals in joints and adjacent tissues, thereby developing tophi or lumpy hard deposits. Elevated uric acid can also cause kidney failure or kidney stones.

uric acid in blood

Uric acid blood test

There is no specific preparation that a person needs to adhere to before undergoing a uric acid blood test. The patient however needs to inform the doctor about any current OTC or prescription medications being taken by him/her as some drugs can influence the test results.

A uric acid blood test is carried out for the following reasons:

  • To diagnose gout and monitor it in patients.
  • To verify the effectiveness of medications for uric acid reduction.
  • To check if high uric acid in blood is the cause for kidney stones, kidney diseases, and other kidney malfunction.
  • Cancer cells destroyed via radiation therapy and chemotherapy may pass uric acid into blood. A uric acid blood test can verify uric acid levels in patients undergoing such cancer treatments.

Uric acid blood test results

Presented below is the normal values or the reference range of uric acid in blood. It may differ from one lab to another. Consult with the doctor to understand the test results and its interpretation.

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Children 2.1 to 5.4 mg/dL(milligrams per deciliter of blood) 120 to 325 mcmol/L (micromoles per liter of blood)
Women 2.5 to 6.1 mg/dL 140 to 355 mcmol/L
Men 3.3 to 7.0 mg/dL 200 to 415 mcmol/L

 

It may be noted that sometimes uric acid crystals may develop in joints even when uric acid in blood is under 7 mg/dL, particularly in men. The causes of high uric acid levels in blood and relevant treatment options will be told by the doctor after the test.

High and low uric acid blood test values

High levels of uric acid in blood may occur due to:

  • Differences within individuals in the manner in which the body produces or removes uric acid from blood.
  • Underlying conditions like diabetes, kidney damage, kidney disease, recurrent acute arthritis episodes, gout.
  • Certain types of cancers like leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma which cause increased cell breakdown, metastasized cancer, cancer treatments like chemotherapy, heart failure, sickle cell anemia, and hemolytic anemia.
  • Other conditions like preeclampsia, lead poisoning, alcohol dependence, malnutrition, liver cirrhosis, starvation, psoriasis, obesity, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, hypothyroidism, and hypoparathyroidism.
  • Intake of purine-abundant foods.

Low levels of uric acid in blood occurs due to:

  • Conditions like SIADH, Wilson’s disease, Fanconi syndrome, and some types of cancers.
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diet deficient in purines and proteins.
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