Uric acid is produced as a result of breakdown of purines. The following article provides information on the reasons behind high or low levels of uric acid in blood.
Purine is a substance that is found in many types of food items. The formation of uric acid takes place as a result of break down of purines by the body. It is carried in the blood, taken through the kidneys to be finally eliminated in the urine. The term ‘hyperuricemia’ refers to the condition wherein the level of uric acid is higher than normal, whereas ‘hypouricemia’ is said to occur when its level is lower than the normal range. Hyperuricemia may or may not cause any complications. However, in some people hyperuricemia might be associated with gout, kidney stones, or even kidney failure. Abnormal levels could be due to the use of certain drugs.
Hyperuricemia and hypouricemia can be diagnosed with the help of a blood test. Elevated levels might point towards medical conditions such as gout and kidney stones. The test also helps in monitoring the levels, and helps the doctors determine if the drug therapy is working or not. Here’s the reference range of uric acid levels in blood.
- The normal range for men is 3.4 – 7.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
- The normal range for women is 2.4 – 6.0 mg/dL.
- The normal range for children is 2.0 – 5.5 mg/dL.
Contributing Factors for Abnormal Levels
As mentioned earlier, uric acid is a waste product that is formed when the body breaks down foods that contain purines. Hyperuricemia can be observed in patients affected by conditions such as gout or kidney stones. Gout may cause excruciating pain in the affected joint, accompanied by tenderness and swelling. Kidney stones are likely to cause flank pain, frequent urination, vomiting, and nausea.
Different conditions like obesity, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and even heart failure may cause hyperuricemia. Malnutrition or starvation could also cause abnormal levels.
Hypouricemia could be indicative of the development of liver diseases of a severe nature. It may also be a symptom of Wilson’s disease or some types of cancer. Apart from these, low levels may indicate another condition called syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH). The condition may also mean that the affected person’s diet lacks the required amount of protein.
More often than not, it is the hyperuricemia that is a cause of concern. It must be noted a high level of this waste product does not imply that the person is suffering from gout. If he/she does not have any additional symptoms, then all he/she has to do is to take medications to lower the level.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.