March 15 (UPI) -- A new study suggests high uric acid levels in children may be associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure as adults.
Uric acid is a chemical produced when the body breaks down foods that contain organic compounds known as purines. Foods with high purine levels include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans, beer and wine.
High levels of uric acid can lead to diabetes, chronic kidney disease and gout in adults.
Exposure to high uric acid levels in-utero could have an impact on blood pressure levels of children.
Researchers measured uric acid levels in 449 children in Seoul, South Korea, and conducted two follow-up examinations between 2001 and 2006, with the first follow-up occurring when the children were 3 years old from 2005 to 2010. The mothers' of participants who visited hospitals for prenatal care between 24 and 28 weeks were included in the study.
Findings showed serum uric acid levels at age 3 affected subsequent blood pressure in the children. Participants with high uric acid levels at age 3 and 5 had the highest systolic blood pressure at age 7.
Researchers emphasized that exposure to high uric acid levels can be changed throughout life to reduce the risk of future high blood pressure.
"Many studies have shown that early-life health can affect adulthood," Dr. Hyesook Park, of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said in a press release.
The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension.