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Uric Acid

Uric Acid

Alternate Names

  • serum uric acid
  • serum urate

Definition

This test measures the amount of uric acid that is in the blood. Uric acid is a product of the breakdown of proteins in the body.

Who is a candidate for the test?

A healthcare provider may order this test when a person has symptoms of arthritis or gout. He or she may also order this test when a person has kidney disease.

How is the test performed?

In order to measure the amount of uric acid in the blood, a blood sample is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a rubber tube called a tourniquet is tied around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected in a syringe or vial for testing in the laboratory. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

Normally, no preparation is required for this test.

What do the test results mean?

The normal amount of uric acid in the blood or serum depends on the person's gender. Males can have levels of 3.5 to 7.2 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), but females should only have 2.6 to 6.0 mg/dL.
Conditions that can be linked with high levels of uric acid in the blood include:
  • Kidney disease
  • Gout
  • Lead poisoning
  • Obesity
  • Drinking alcohol
Certain medicines, such as diuretics and cyclosporine, can also be linked to high levels of uric acid in the blood.

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