High uric acid increases risk of high blood pressure in teens

May 3, 2012

Teenagers with high levels of uric acid have an increased risk for high blood pressure, according to a new study published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Hypertension.

Teenagers with high levels of uric acid have an increased risk for high blood pressure, according to a new study published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Hypertension.

Lead author Lauren Loeffler, MD, MHS, a nephrologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed more than 6,000 medical records of children aged 12 through 17 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database.

The teens with abnormally high levels of uric acid in their blood were, on average, twice as likely to have high blood pressure as those with normal levels.

“High blood pressure is no longer an adult disease, and is an increasingly common problem among children today,” Loeffler said. “These findings illuminate one potential pathway in the development of hypertension in the young and suggests a way for detection and treatment.”

Uric acid has been implicated in a number of adult disease conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.

“We don’t really know whether uric acid drives up blood pressure or merely heralds its onset and progression, but we are excited because our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that uric acid is involved in a wide range of adult diseases that may be rooted in childhood,” said Jeffrey Fadrowski, MD, MPH, senior investigator on the study and a nephrologist at Johns Hopkins.

The researchers found that more than 3% of the 6,036 teens had high blood pressure and one-third were overweight or obese. Six percent of the boys and 9% of the girls had abnormally high levels of uric acid.