Uric acid (urate)

Uric acid (urate) is the chemical that causes gout. It forms crystals in joints, causing a very painful arthritis. Uric acid is also involved in some uncommon inherited kidney diseases. In general, moderately high uric acid isn't thought to need treatment unless you have gout. Normal = 180-480 micromol/l (3-7 mg/dl). It is slightly higher in men.

below 180
Low values are seen in some rare diseases and after treatment with drugs that lower uric acid
You can sometimes get gout with normal levels but it is uncommon
Levels are raised in those with kidney disease and when taking certain drugs, but high levels also common in the general population. Usually no treatment unless you have gout.
Very high - can cause acute kidney failure or be a sign of a serious inherited disease.

Uric acid levels fall during normal pregnancy.

During treatment with medicines to lower uric acid such as allopurinol, it is common to aim for a serum uric acid level of less than 300 to prevent attacks of gout.

More info about urate from Lab Tests Online

Gout from NHS Choices

This page created 11th March 2009, last modified July 9, 2015, on the PatientView website