Uric acid tags teen hypertension

Based on a data crawl though records in a national databank, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center have found that teenagers with high levels of uric acid in their blood are more likely to have high blood pressure. Their results are published in Hypertension.

Out of the 6036 records analyzed, more than 3% of the young people, aged 12 to 17, had high blood pressure, and were more likely to have high levels of uric acid in their blood. Generally, as uric acid levels went up, blood pressure also went up, and the effect was marked more in boys than girls. Around one-third overall were overweight or obese.

"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," says senior investigator Jeffrey Fadrowski, a nephrologist at Hopkins Children's.

It's not clear whether uric acid levels cause the high blood pressure, but its presence could help physicians spot the condition and monitor its treatment. If it does turn out to cause the hypertension, it could help to unpick the pathways behind the condition and lead to a potential treatment.

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