Checking Out Kids' Blood Pressure

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Uric acid levels indicate high blood pressure in children at high cardiovascular risk

June 16, 2013 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

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(dailyRx News) The more doctors know about your body, the better they understand your risk for different conditions. By establishing an open relationship with your doctor, they can better address health issues, including conditions such as high blood pressure in kids.

A recent study found that high uric acid levels in kids' blood indicated greater risk for high blood pressure.

The higher the children's uric acid levels were, the higher their blood pressure tended to be.

This finding was true among children who were already at high risk for heart-related conditions.

"Ask your pediatrician about cardiovascular risk."

The study, led by Francesca Viazzi, MD, of the University of Genoa in Italy, aimed to find out whether uric acid levels in children was a sign of high blood pressure by itself.

Uric acid is a chemical that the body creates when it's breaking down compounds in certain foods that include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans, dried peas and beer.

Normally, uric acid leaves the body in urine from the kidneys, but if uric acid levels become too high, it's called hyperuricemia.

The researchers in this study evaluated 501 children, aged 6 to 18, to see if hyperuricemia was related to high blood pressure.

Among the children in this study, 156 (31 percent) had normal blood pressure, 122 (24 percent) had occasional high blood pressure, 87 (17 percent) had early signs of high blood pressure and 136 (27 percent) had high blood pressure.

One-third of the study group was overweight, and 40.5 percent were obese.

The researchers found that the more overweight the children were, the higher their blood pressure tended to be.

Likewise, the higher their uric acid levels were, the higher their blood pressure was, as well.

The researchers analyzed the children's characteristics known to be related to blood pressure to see if uric acid by itself was related to blood pressure.

Therefore, they made adjustments to remove the effect of the children's sex, body weight, kidney functioning and whether they had hit puberty yet.

After these adjustments, the researchers found that uric acid levels in the children were directly related to both their systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure.

Compared to the children with normal blood pressure, the risk of high blood pressure increased 50 percent for each additional milligram per deciliter of uric acid in the blood of the children not in the normal blood pressure group.

For children in the top 25 percent for uric acid levels, their risk of high blood pressure doubled compared to children with normal blood pressure.

The researchers concluded that having high levels of uric acid indicated high blood pressure in children who are already at a higher risk for cardiovascular conditions.

The study was published June 17 in the journal Pediatrics. The research did not use external funding, and the authors reported no conflicts of interest.