Uric Acid Lab Test

Uric Acid

Clinical Definition of Uric Acid

We come across the term uric acid in many diagnostic test reports, but what is uric acid? It is a chemical created when the human body disintegrates substances called purines. Purines are found in food like liver, mackerel, dried beans and peas and drinks like beer and wine. Purines are also a part of normal body substances such as DNA. 

Uric acid gets dissolved in the blood and is filtered from the body by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. Any remnants are removed through the stool. If uric acid is produced in excess or lesser quantities, it accumulates in the body causing high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). The presence of excess uric acid causes gout, a state characterised by inflammation that impacts the joints when crystals derived from uric acid are formed in the joint (synovial fluid). Excess uric acid also leads to kidney disease.

 

What do my test results mean?

The uric acid blood test report provides the information regarding the level of uric acid in your blood. It is generally measured in mg/dl and varies with the sex of the individual. Anything above 6 mg/dl for females and 7 mg/dL for males is considered higher than the uric acid normal range. The low levels of the uric acid seldom occur and hence are less found in the uric acid test report.

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

Why do I need this Tested?

The uric acid blood test is carried out to determine the levels of uric acid in the blood and monitor these levels in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment. This test is used to diagnose gout and the cause of recurrent kidney stones.

 

Reason to take Uric Acid Test

• Severe joint pain

• Blood In Urine

• Painful and frequent urination 

• Peeling of the skin around the affected joint

• Fever

• Pain in the back, side, abdomen, groin or genitals

• Redness, swelling, tenderness, inflammation and terrible pain in the affected joint

• Bleeding

• Stomach ulcers

• Diarrhoea 

• Lethargy and Weakness

• Difficulty in breathing

• General swelling

• Nausea and Vomiting

• Stomach cramps

 

How do I prepare for the test?

There are no preparations as such; only you have to eat or drink 4 hours before the test. Also, stop taking any medicines if you are required to do so. In short:

1. No Fasting Required

2. No other special preparations required.

 

How is this test done?

The uric acid blood tests are conducted using the venipuncture process wherein a small needle is pricked to draw a sample for the vein of your arm into the attached vial. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for further analysis. Sometimes the doctor might ask for the test to be carried out with urine as the specimen sample.

 

What is Uric Acid Test?

The uric acid test is a diagnostic tool to measure the levels of uric acid present in your bloodstream. The uric acid produced by the body is filtered by the kidney and expelled through the urine. Sometimes the body produces more but does not expel enough of it. This causes deviations in the uric acid level in the blood. The test can help detect any abnormalities of uric acid production and removal by the body.

 

What other tests might I have along with this test?

If the doctor does not find any conclusive evidence from the uric acid test they may prescribe additional tests for gout. The fluid from the joint with symptoms is taken as the sample. Also, certain advanced urine tests are conducted t look for more signs of kidney stones, WBC’s, crystals, and blood in the urine. These additional tests might be required to check what is triggering the high uric acid levels.

 

Does this test pose any risk?

These are routine blood tests and are generally very safe without any associated risks. There might be minor side effects like pain or discomfort at the puncture site. There is nothing to be worried about as these go away in some time. In rare cases, a patient might experience fainting or lightheadedness, accumulation of blood under the skin or infection at the puncture site. If the symptoms persist, contact your doctor immediately.

 

What might affect my test results?

The factors that might interfere with the test results include medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen, consumption of alcohol, high levels of vitamin c and also dyes used in x-ray tests. It is important to inform the doctor about any over the counter medications that might be taking.

 

What are the Symptoms of High and Low Uric Acid?

Too much of uric acid in the body can cause a medical condition known as gouty arthritis. The high uric acid symptoms of the same include pain in the big toe, ankles, knees and feet. These painful flare-ups could last for some days. It is advisable to get the condition treated at the earliest in order to avoid any kinds of permanent damage to the joints and the kidney. Low uric acid causes may suggest Wilson’s disease, liver or kidney diseases and many more.

 

How to Treat Excessive Uric Acid?

If you have high levels of uric acid present in the blood, it is important to understand how to reduce uric acid levels apart from taking the prescribed medications.

1. Increased water intake is a must as it keeps the body hydrated and flushes out the uric acid from the body.

2. Foods rich in purines like baked products and red meat etc. should be avoided as they trigger the production of uric acid in the body.

3. Limiting caffeine and alcohol intakes is also essential as they hinder the excretion of uric acid from the body.

4. In controlling uric acid diet plays a major role. Consuming high fibre foods helps in its easy elimination from the body through the kidneys.

5. Research proves that sugar also hinders the excretion of uric acid from the body. Hence it is essential to limit the intake.

One can find other tried and tested techniques on how to control uric acid in the body and lead a healthy life on numerous health websites online.

 

Sample Required?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample), Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm. Specimen type: Urine

Specimen collection procedure: 24-hour urine sample-Care must be taken to clean the genitals well before collection.

Follow these steps to get the sample

Day 1- The first morning urine sample on Day 1 must not be collected i.e. bladder must be emptied for the first time.

Note down the exact time of discarding the 1st urine sample.

All urine for the next 24 hours should be collected in the special container provided.

Day 2- collect the first-morning urine of Day 2 into the same container, at the same time or within 10 minutes as that noted on the morning of Day 1.

Cap the container. Keep it in the refrigerator or a cool place during the collection period.

Understanding results of Uric Acid

Reference RangeInterpretation
2.6 to 6.0 mg/dL (SERUM)Adult Female
Female (24h Urine sample)250-750mg/24hrs
2.2 – 4.7 mg/dl (MALE), 2.2 – 4.7 mg/dl (FEMALE)4 – 6 yrs
2.3 – 5.4 mg/dl (MALE), 3.0 – 4.7 mg/dl (FEMALE)10 – 11 yrs
1.4 – 6.7 mg/dl (MALE), 1.4 – 6.2 mg/dl (FEMALE)7 – 12 months
2.7 – 6.8 mg/dl (MALE), 3.0 – 5.8 mg/dl (FEMALE)12 – 13 yrs
1.4 – 6.4 mg/dl (MALE), 1.3 – 6.2 mg/dl (FEMALE)4 – 6 months
4.0 – 8.7 mg/dl (MALE), 3.0 – 5.9 mg/dl (FEMALE)16 – 19 yrs
1.2 – 4.9 mg/dl (MALE) , 1.3 – 6.2 mg/dl (FEMALE)1 – 30 days
1.9 – 5.0 mg/dl (MALE), 1.9 – 5.0 mg/dl (FEMALE)7 – 9 yrs
1.3 – 5.3 mg/dl (MALE), 1.3 – 5.8 mg/dl (FEMALE)1 – 3 months
Male (24h Urine sample )250-750mg/24hrs
1.2 – 4.9 mg/dl (MALE) , 1.3 – 6.2 mg/dl (FEMALE)Adult Male
2.4 – 7.9 mg/dl (MALE), 3.0 – 5.8 mg/dl (FEMALE)14 – 15 yrs
1.7 – 5.0 mg/dl (MALE), 1.7 – 5.0 mg/dl (FEMALE)1 – 3 yrs

*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges.

Conclusion

To keep a check on your uric acid levels it is important to undergo the test if you feel the need for it or also as a part of your regular health checks. The uric acid test cost is quite affordable and is conducted both in diagnostic centres as well as hospitals. The uric acid levels in the body can be even checked at home using disposable test strips. These uric acid home test kits are very effective and come with easy to use instruction. It is important to buy strips of reputable brands to get correct results. Along with the strips, it is important to have the uric acid meter to interpret the results accurately. These meters are easy to operate and are microprocessor based. These uric acid home treatment kits are available online or in your nearby medical stores.

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003616.htm
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-uric.html
  3. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/uric-acid
  4. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/uric-acid
  5. http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/high-uric-acid-level/basics/causes/sym-20050607
  6. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003476.htm