Uric Acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks, such as liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, beer, and wine .
Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys, where it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or doesn't remove enough if it, you can get sick. High levels of uric acid in the body is called hyperuricemia.
The uric acid test is used to learn whether the body might be breaking down cells too quickly or not getting rid of uric acid quickly enough. The test also is used to monitor levels of uric acid when a patient has had chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
This test checks to see how much uric acid you have in your blood.
How The Test Is Performed ?
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
A laboratory specialist checks the blood sample for uric acid.
Why Get Tested ?
To detect high levels of uric acid, which could be a sign of the condition gout, or to monitor uric acid levels when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment
How To Prepare For The Test ?
You should not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test unless told otherwise. Your doctor may also tell you to stop taking any drugs that may affect the test results. NEVER stop taking any medicine without talking to your doctor.
Drugs that can increase the level of uric acid in your body include:
- Ascorbic acid
- Nicotinic acid
Drugs that can decrease the level of uric acid in your body include:
Why The Test Is Performed ?
This test is done to see if you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. High levels of uric acid can cause gout or kidney disease.
Your doctor may also order 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.
When Is It Ordered ?
The uric acid test is ordered when a doctor suspects high levels of uric acid. Some patients with high levels of uric acid have a disease called gout, which is an inherited disorder that affects purine breakdown. Patients with gout suffer from joint pain, most often in their toes but in other joints as well. The test also is ordered as a monitoring test when a patient has undergone chemotherapy or radiation, to learn whether uric acid levels are getting dangerously high. The test may also be ordered if a patient appears to have failing kidneys. Patients who have high uric acid levels are sometimes put on a drug regimen to help lower uric acid levels.
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