Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are normally produced in the body and are also found in some foods and drinks. Foods with high content of purines include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, and beer.
Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys. From there, it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or does not remove enough if it, you can get sick. A high level of uric acid in the blood is called hyperuricemia.
This test checks to see how much uric acid you have in your blood. Another test can be used to check the level of uric acid in your urine.
A blood sample is needed. Most of the time, blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
You should not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test unless told otherwise.
Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.
This test is done to see if you have a high level of uric acid in your blood. High levels of uric acid can sometimes cause gout or kidney disease.
You may have this test if you have had or are about to have certain types of chemotherapy. Rapid weight loss, which may occur with such treatments, can increase the amount of uric acid in your blood.
Normal values range between 3.5 to 7.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
The example above shows the common measurement range for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Greater-than-normal levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) may be due to:
Lower-than-normal levels of uric acid may be due to:
Other reasons this test may be performed include:
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/07/2017.