Gout (Uric Acid) TestMeasure the level of uric acid in your blood, which is useful for diagnosing and monitoring gout and kidney stones. Read more
Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe and often at night. Gout can develop in individuals who have high levels of uric acid in the blood.
Our Uric Acid Test identifies whether you have abnormal uric acid levels in your blood. Uric acid is a normal waste product in your blood. The body makes uric acid when it breaks down purines, substances found in the cells of the body and in the food we eat. Most uric acid dissolves in blood, travels to the kidneys, and is removed from the body in urine. However, if too much uric acid builds up in the blood it can form into crystals in the joints, causing gout, a common and complex form of arthritis. These crystals can also settle into the kidneys and form kidney stones, or in extreme cases, cause kidney failure.
How it works
Gout is an intensely painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis. It is characterized by sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling in joints, particularly the big toe, knee, or ankle; joints that feel warm to the touch; shiny, reddish skin around the joints; and limited range of motion. Gout occurs when excess uric acid collects in the body, and needle-like urate crystals (monosodium urate) deposit in the joints resulting in a strong inflammatory response.
In most cases, uric acid is transported through the blood to the kidneys, which filter and eliminate it from the body through urine. Yet sometimes the body produces excessively high levels of uric acid or the kidneys are unable to eliminate it effectively, resulting in the formation of crystals in certain joints and causing gout.
The following factors may increase your risk of developing hyperuricemia, which may cause gout or uric acid kidney stones:
- Being overweight or obese
- Drinking alcohol
- Living with certain chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, or hemolytic disorders
- Receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Eating a purine-rich diet
- Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar
- Being affected by lead toxicity or lead poisoning