Dr. Parker Explains: What is Uric Acid?

If you’re living with gout, you’ve probably heard about uric acid before. But what exactly is it? And how does it impact you?

The Gout Support Group of America interviewed Dr. Chris Parker to answer these questions and more.

  • GSGA: What is uric acid?

    Dr. Parker: Uric acid is a normal waste product created by the body. Everyone has uric acid. For most people, uric acid dissolves in the blood, ends up in the kidneys and eventually passes out in urine. For some people, however, the body produces too much uric acid or does not remove enough of it. This condition is known as hyperuricemia.

  • GSGA: What does uric acid have to do with gout?

    Dr. Parker: High levels of uric acid in the blood cause uric acid to clump together in sharp crystals. These crystals can settle in joints and cause gout. That said, having hyperuricemia doesn’t always mean you’ll develop gout.

  • GSGA: How can people test their uric acid level?

    Dr. Parker: To measure uric acid, you must do a blood test. This is a simple, non-fasting test that can be done at your doctor’s office. If you think you might have gout, don’t be shy about asking your doctor about this test.

  • GSGA: What is a normal uric acid level?

    Dr. Parker: I always tell my patients: If it’s over 6, you need a fix. While normal values can range, typically anything over 6mg/dL requires further attention or monitoring.

  • GSGA: What should people do if their level is high?

    If your results are over 6mg/dL, don’t worry. High levels of uric acid are very treatable and don’t always mean that you will develop gout. Be proactive and talk with your health care provider about a treatment plan.

    Diet alone is not an effective way to lower your uric acid. Medications such as allopurinol and febuxostat are common and are the best way to get your levels back under control.

Want to learn more about uric acid? The Gout Support Group of America’s Uric Acid 101 video is a great place to start. By proactively managing your uric acid, you will be well on your way to living flare free. Always remember – if it’s over 6, you need a fix!