This page about the UASure uric acid test kit was last reviewed, or updated, on 1 March 2011.
So why do you buy the UASure?
Getting rid of gout involves some of the following activities and maybe others.
You cut down on some favourite (favorite) foods, go on one of the anti-gout diets, give up alcohol, exercise for 30 minutes a day, drink eight glasses of water daily, and spend much more time cooking fresh food than you used to. You probably take a medication and vitamins, and do other things you’ve read and heard are good for dealing with gout.
At first it’s a strain. Later, with a bit of luck, it becomes part of your lifestyle. Getting rid of gout, in theory, is simple in many cases – you just have to get your uric acid level down below 6.0 mg/dL if you’re a man and below about 5.5 mg/dL if you’re a woman, levels at which the uric acid gout crystals should begin to dissolve and not re-crystallise.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy in practice. The “I ate a slice of cherry pie and my gout attack went away” stories are unfortunately the exception, not the rule. And, when you hear as many real life gout stories as I do, it is amazing how many different foods there are, not necessarily those high in purines, that people think have caused their gout flares.
And when finally you do find a dietary regimen and/or medication that delivers success, you have to stay with it for the rest of your life. Staying with a med for the rest of your life, if that’s what has been necessary to end gout attacks (as it so often, but not invariably is), isn’t something that many people are very happy with.
THE URIC ACID REDUCTION EDGE
Doing a uric acid test for yourself is one way to give yourself an enormous psychological boost, and the confidence to keep on working at it, when it’s clear that uric acid has fallen. And doing this, say weekly, to monitor your progress with a certain diet, (what effect is my low purine, Zone, Atkins, Paleo or other diet really having?) or drug or vitamin is a way of becoming more intimate with how your uric acid level actually behaves.
Various kinds of medical establishment have the equipment to do uric acid testing, but you can do it at home as long as you do it correctly. And as long as you discuss results with your gout health care professional, and you get your home reading checked from time to time by a medical labs’ uric acid measuring equipment - to make sure you are doing it correctly.
THE UASURE URIC ACID TEST KIT
The UASure uric acid meter was the first uric handheld uric acid meter you could use to test your uric acid (UA) level at home when it was launched a few years ago. Produced to professional lab standards it is good enough to be designed for use by gout health care professionals, as well as the general gout public, and those who worry that their asymptomatic hyperuricemia (high uric acid without gout) might lead to gout at some future date.
For these people, some doctors will not prescribe uric acid lowering medications, because they don’t have gout and the med might bring on an attack, but others think, especially if the uric acid level is high, that it should be lowered with meds. On the whole, natural methods are recommended for high uric acid without gout, and a uric acid test kit shows if they are working. But there are exceptions to the no medications if there's no gout approach, so always discuss high uric acid with your doctor/rheumatologist.
And people who have gout in the family, (genetic gout) and are therefore prone to it, also want regular uric acid readings.
You really want your meter to tell you your UA level is falling, that what you’re doing is working. (Subsequently confirmed by a lab test). But if it shows it’s rising… that news is unwelcome but it’s just as good information. It tells you that you are not doing enough well to get your UA down and you have to find out what you’re doing wrong, or is wrong.
THE UA SURE USER MANUAL AND CODE CARD
This uric acid test kit comes with an excellent illustrated user guide. But it comes with just five test strips, so to be a serious about this you will need to also order at least box of 25 test strips for a fortnightly test for a year, or two boxes (50 strips) for a weekly test for a year. Each box of test strips has its own code card which you enter into the meter. When you order another box of test strips there will be another code card to enter.
Likewise there are just 5 lancets in the standard uric acid test kit, so you need to order a box of lancets. Since this test is worth doing, it's worth doing properly.
THE FOUR STEP PROCESS TO LEARN YOUR URIC ACID LEVEL
Actually doing a uric acid test with the meter takes four steps. There is more to using this equipment correctly, than I am explaining here <i> which is why you must read the user guide carefully. But the following are the basic steps. This is what you do.
First, you get a blood sample – and make sure your hands are clean and dry. You prick the side of a fingertip with the adjustable lancet device in the uric acid test kit to get six microlitres (microliters) of blood. You won’t know exactly how much that is, but it’s a small amount - a drop - easily judged when you have acquired a little experience.
Secondly, position the test strip into the meter and put the blood onto the reaction zone on the side of the test strip. The machine beeps when there’s enough blood on the test strip. Don’t have too much blood on the reaction zone or the reading will be wrong. The test strip can only be used once, so throw it away when you’ve finished.
The uric acid test strips are each individually aluminium (aluminum) wrapped for a life of about a year. So they are better packaged for longevity, I think, than some of the strips you buy for other kinds of home medical self tests.
Thirdly, the meter acknowledges it is working on the test strip by flashing timing bars on its LCD screen.
Fourthly, watch the timing bars for about 30 seconds. Then your uric acid level will show on the LCD screen. And that’s it. You now know how far away you are from your target UA numbers.
These are the main steps to using this uric acid test kit, but I think most people will have to practice using it, and do the user guide explained tests to ensure it’s working correctly, until they get it off pat.
The meter remembers the last 10 readings but you will eventually have many more than this, so you can use the uric acid test kit’s log book to record the result. Add in other comparative numbers such as your weight; notes on your recent diet; the last time you ate high purine foods, and other measurements that are part of your beating gout methods.
mg/dL or µmol/L or mmol/L ?
You can set the meter’s uric acid reading to mg/dL or µmol/L (pronounced mew mole) serum (blood) uric acid readings. mg/dL is the factory setting and is the measurement in North America. I also think it's the simplest. µmol/L (or mmol/L) is used in some European and other countries.
When writing about uric acid, this website explains the mg/dL number first, then (usually) the µmol/L or mmol/L number after it in brackets. I do it this way because the mg/dL numbers are much lower and therefore we think mg/dL is easier to remember. i.e. 7.2 mg/dL is easier to remember than 428 µmol/L or 0.428 mmol/L which are its equivalent amounts of serum (blood) uric acid in the other measurements.
ORDERING THE UA SURE
The UASure uric acid meter is made in Taiwan but its website does not sell the meter. Many countries do not have a distributor.
But a company called Arctic Medical in Britain ships the UASure meter worldwide, including to North America. The UASure has a 5 year guarantee (warranty). Arctic Medical sells it from its website and you can visit the site's gout meter shop.
U.K.sales tax (VAT) is not charged if you live outside the EU and it’s exempt if you live in Britain and can show you are a gout sufferer. Arctic Medical’s gout meter shop explains shipping costs, and of course prices, and sales tax rebates.
You can also purchase UASure control solution (optional) from Arctic Medical. This is for extra is-it-working-correctly tests. You would use this very occasionally and when first using new test strips; when practicing the procedure; if the strips are exposed to high temperatures; if you think the meter isn’t working and other possibilities explained in the user guide.
Please tell us your experiences of using a uric acid meter. Pass it along so that others can benefit from what you have learned.