- Increased levels of uric acid during very early childhood causes increase in blood pressure later.
- This could be because of the role played by uric acid during the prenatal period in the intrauterine environment.
- Appropriate monitoring and intervention of uric acid levels in a high-risk group can potentially reduce the risk of a future increased blood pressure.
Very young children who have increased uric acid levels were seen to have higher blood pressure at 3 years of age.
The study suggests that high levels of serum uric acid in very early life may lead to elevated blood pressure in adulthood.
‘Health monitoring and early intervention during childhood is the most effective way to prevent diseases later in life.’
Serum uric acid levels can change throughout life.
For the study researchers investigated the effect of serum uric acid levels in childhood on the blood pressure tracking and analyzed blood pressure according to changes in serum uric acid levels in early life.
When the body breaks down organic compounds called purines found in certain food sources like liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans, beer, and wine, uric acid is produced.
High levels of uric acid can cause various conditions like gout, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.
High uric acid levels during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth and low placental weight.
High blood pressure during childhood and adolescents is an emerging and serious health issue with the prevalence of pediatric hypertension being increasing.
High blood pressure in childhood can lead to hypertension in adulthood.
Over the past few years, increasing evidence has supported a role for uric acid in pediatric hypertension. It may also play a role in the intrauterine environment during pregnancy, causing an increase in blood pressure.
The study included 449 children in Seoul, South Korea, whose serum uric acid levels were measure. At least two follow-up examinations were performed between 2001 and 2006. The first follow up was done when the children were 3 years of age November 2005 to July 2010.
The cohort comprised of mothers who visited hospitals for prenatal care between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation.
Data was collected across three check-up cycles. Serum uric acid levels, blood pressure, and anthropometric characteristics were assessed at 3, 5, and 7 years of age.
The serum uric acid levels measured at 3 years of age, significantly affected subsequent blood pressure in later years.
Subjects who had high uric acid levels at both 3 and 5 years of age had the highest systolic blood pressure at 7 years of age.
Exposure to certain risk factors that can cause future health risk begins during the prenatal period. But the level of exposure can be modified while living.
Therefore, although children may be born with adverse birth conditions like preterm or low birth weight, appropriate management to control high blood pressure during childhood may help in later life.
The studies suggest high uric acid levels during early childhood can increase blood pressure levels during later years. Therefore, to reduce the risk of increased blood pressure during later life, adequate monitoring and intervention of uric acid levels, especially in high risk category may be beneficial.
"Many studies have shown that early-life health can affect adulthood," said the study's lead author, Hyesook Park. "We think that along with childhood health monitoring, early intervention in childhood is the most effective way to prevent future disease."
The article is published in the American Journal of Hypertension
- Hyesook Park et al. Association Between Serum Levels of Uric Acid and Blood Pressure Tracking in Childhood. American Journal of Hypertension; (2017) doi.org/10.1093/ajh/hpx037