ATLANTA—High uric acid levels may be a risk factor for hypertension, according to a new meta-analysis.

Researchers led by Peter Grayson, MD, a rheumatologist at Boston Medical Center, analyzed data from 55,607 participants in 18 hypertension studies with data on incident hypertension related to serum uric acid levels. The studies included at least 100 individuals who were followed up for at least one year and did not have hypertension at the start of the study in which they participated. Hypertension developed in 13,025 subjects.

The meta-analysis revealed that hyperuricemia was associated with a 41% increased risk of developing hypertension, after adjusting for multiple variables, the investigators reported at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting. Each 1 mg/dL increment in uric acid was associated with a 13% increased risk of hypertension.

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Dr. Grayson cautioned, however, that this association does not prove the high uric acid directly causes hypertension.

Although more studies are needed, Dr. Grayson noted in a press release issued by the ACR, medications that lower uric acid levels may potentially be useful for preventing or treating hypertension.