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Tests for CLL Patients: Uric Acid
Posted: Dec 18, 2023
Tests for CLL Patients: Uric Acid image

CLL patients may receive a uric acid test to check the amount of uric acid in their blood. There are a variety of reasons uric acid may be high. If uric acid is high, it can negatively impact a patient’s health and supportive measures need to be taken to reduce negative side effects. 

What is Uric Acid? 

Uric acid is a waste product that forms in the body primarily as a result of the breakdown of purines. Purines are nitrogen-containing compounds found in many foods and are also a part of normal cell components. Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood, passes through the kidneys, and is excreted in urine. However, if the body produces too much uric acid or doesn't excrete enough of it, it can build up in the blood. This excess uric acid can lead to various health issues. 

Causes of High Uric Acid: 

  • Kidney function: Since uric acid is primarily excreted by the kidneys, impaired kidney function can lead to an accumulation of uric acid in the blood
  • Dehydration or reduced fluid intake: Inadequate hydration can lead to a high concentration of uric acid in the blood
  • Tumor lysis syndrome: When CLL cells are quickly killed off by targeted therapies, the cell’s contents are released into the bloodstream. This rapid breakdown of cancer cells can lead to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. A rare side effect called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) occurs if uric acid is not properly excreted from the body. A patient’s uric acid is monitered during targeted therapy administration. One preventative measure to reduce the risk of TLS for these patients is encouraging adequate water consumption during treatment to help flush out uric acid from the body  
  • Dietary habits: Diets high in purine-rich foods can increase uric acid levels. Purines are found in red meats, organ meats (like liver), seafood, alcoholic beverages (especially beer), and drinks sweetened with fructose
  • Obesity: Being overweight can increase the body's production of uric acid and decrease its elimination by the kidneys
  • Certain medications: Some medications like diuretics, aspirin, and certain drugs used for cancer, can increase uric acid levels
  • Rapid weight loss or fasting: These can lead to increased cell turnover and consequently higher production of uric acid
  • Genetic factors: Some people have a genetic predisposition to high uric acid levels due to the way their bodies metabolize purines

Potential Consequences of High Uric Acid for a CLL patient include: 

  • Gout: High uric acid levels can lead to the formation of urate crystals in joints, causing gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis. This results in painful, swollen joints, often starting with the big toe
  • Kidney stones: Uric acid can crystallize in the kidneys, forming stones. This can lead to pain, infection, and, in severe cases, kidney failure
  • Kidney damage: High levels of uric acid over time can damage the kidneys, potentially leading to a condition called chronic kidney disease
  • Increased cardiovascular risk: High uric acid levels have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is a concern in CLL patients, who may already have a higher risk of cardiovascular issues due to their age and disease

Test Steps

  • Blood sample collection: The test involves a simple blood draw, typically from a vein in the arm. A healthcare provider will clean the area with an antiseptic, insert a needle into a vein, and collect the blood in a vial or syringe
  • Laboratory analysis: The collected sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis

Patient Preparation

Generally, no special preparation is required for a uric acid test. However, patients should inform their healthcare provider about any medications or supplements they are taking, as certain drugs can affect uric acid levels. Fasting is not typically necessary, but following specific instructions from the healthcare team is important. 

Timeframe for Results

The turnaround time for uric acid test results can vary depending on the laboratory and healthcare facility. Generally, patients can expect to receive their results within a few days, though it can be as quick as within 24 hours in urgent situations. 

Interpreting Test Results

It's important to note that the interpretation of uric acid levels should be done in the context of the patient's overall health status, other lab results, and their specific CLL treatment plan. 

Uric acid levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The results are interpreted as follows:

  • Normal range: Typically, a normal range is between 3.4 and 7.0 mg/dL for men and 2.4 and 6.0 mg/dL for women. However, these values can vary slightly depending on the laboratory

Conclusion

Monitoring uric acid is an essential aspect of managing the health of CLL patients. Uric acid, a by-product of purine metabolism, can accumulate in the bloodstream due to various factors such as kidney dysfunction, rapid cell turnover, dehydration, dietary habits, obesity, certain medications, genetic predisposition, and alcohol consumption. This accumulation poses health risks, including the potential for tumor lysis syndrome during targeted therapy for CLL patients. Patients should discuss their test results with their healthcare provider for effective management and mitigation of potential risks associated with high uric acid. 

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

 

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, and cooking.

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