A uric acid blood test detects the level of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid typically dissolves in the blood and then travels through the kidneys. The kidneys should get rid of most uric acid in urine. When this does not happen, excess uric acid remains in the blood.
A high level of uric acid, or hyperuricemia, is common (found in about one in five people). Most people with high uric acid levels have no problems, but some develop gout or kidney stones.
What is a uric acid test?
A uric acid test is ordered when a healthcare provider suspects your uric acid level is high. The test may be ordered if you show symptoms of gout, such as pain and swelling in your big toe or other joints. A provider may also order the test if you have frequent kidney stones.
Uric acid tests are also used to monitor uric acid levels in cancer patients being treated with radiation or chemotherapy.
A uric acid test may also indicate low levels of uric acid. This could be a symptom of kidney or liver disease.
Why is a uric acid test important?
A uric acid test is used most often to:
- Diagnose or monitor gout
- Find the cause of kidney stones
- Diagnose kidney disorders
- Monitor kidney function after injury
- Monitor uric acid levels in cancer patients
If high uric acid levels are causing health concerns, you can make lifestyle changes. Uric acid is formed naturally by your body. It is also created when your body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are present in certain foods, including game meats, liver and other organ meats, beef broth, anchovies, sardines, shellfish and beer.
Common reasons that kidneys may have trouble filtering out uric acid include being overweight, having diabetes, taking certain diuretics and drinking excessive alcohol.
What should I expect with a uric acid test?
A uric acid blood test requires that your blood be drawn. A healthcare provider will insert a needle in your vein and collect the blood in a vial. That blood will then be sent to a lab for analysis.
You may be asked to change what you eat or drink or to avoid exercise right before a uric acid test.
Another option to determine uric acid levels is to test your urine over a 24-hour period. Sometimes a healthcare provider will use both to confirm a diagnosis.
If you have symptoms of gout or frequent kidney stones, consult a healthcare provider. Find the closest CareNow® urgent care clinic.
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