Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blood Levels of Uric Acid Predict Hypertension in Blacks

(HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of uric acid in the blood are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure in black Americans, a new study finds.

The findings suggest that a simple blood test could help predict the risk of high blood pressure in blacks. It also suggests that medications to reduce uric acid levels may help lower hypertension-related health problems.

In the study, a team from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., tracked over 9,100 people, ages 45 to 64, who did not have high blood pressure at the start of the study. The participants' blood pressure was checked every three years over four examinations.

The researchers found that, overall, people with uric acid levels in the highest 25 percent (quartile) had about a 15 percent increased risk of high blood pressure.

The link between high uric acid levels and hypertension was especially strong in black men.

Those with uric acid levels in the highest quartile had a two-fold increased risk of hypertension than black men in the lowest quartile.

The association was also strong in black women. Those in the highest quartile were 30 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those in the lowest quartile.

The study was published online in the journal Hypertension. More research needs to be done to determine the health effects of high uric acid, especially in blacks, the study authors said.

Uric acid levels are influenced by diet. Most uric acid is eliminated in urine. Very high levels of uric acid can cause gout.

More information
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about uric acid.

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