Serum uric acid is strongly linked to hypertension in African Americans, a large, multicenter study shows. The finding suggests that a simple blood test could predict high BP risk and that lowering uric acid could be a novel way to reduce hypertension-related complications in this population.

The findings come from a study of 9,104 African Americans and Caucasians with a mean age of 53 years. All were free of hypertension and had mean serum uric acid levels of 5.7 mg/dL. After nine years, subjects with the highest quartile of serum uric-acid level had a 15% increased risk of hypertension compared with those in the lowest quartile, but the link was particularly strong among black men. In this group, those in the highest quartile of uric acid had a twofold higher risk of hypertension compared with their counterparts in the lowest quartile. This held true even after adjusting for age, BMI, renal function, diabetes, and smoking. In African-American women in the highest quartile, the risk was 30% higher than in women in the lowest quartile (Hypertension. 2006;48:1037-1042).

“The novel angle of our study is that the association between uric acid and hypertension is much stronger in blacks, a group that disproportionately suffers from kidney disease, stroke, and other complications of hypertension,” said one of the investigators.

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