High Uric Acid Levels Raise Diabetes Risk
What is the problem and what is known about it so far?
Uric acid is a waste product that is normally found in the blood. It comes from the breakdown of substances called “purines” that are part of many foods. High amounts of uric acid in the blood can cause crystals to form in the joints, leading to gout. However, only a small portion of people with high uric acid levels get gout.
Research has shown strong links between uric acid levels and metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical conditions that are related to insulin resistance (the body’s inability to correctly process insulin) and increase a person’s chances of getting heart disease and diabetes. Studies in people with pre-diabetes and in the elderly have suggested that high uric acid levels raise a person’s chances of getting diabetes. More study is needed to see if this holds true in the general population.
Why did the researchers do this particular study?
The researchers wanted to learn more about how high uric acid levels affect future diabetes risk.
Who was studied?
The study included 4,883 original participants in the Framingham Heart Study, an ongoing community health trial, as well as 4,292 of their children who also participated in the heart study.
How was the study done?
The researchers collected health information from the Framingham Study, including participants’ uric acid levels and how many participants developed diabetes. They looked at whether participants with higher uric acid levels were more likely to get diabetes, taking into account many other factors such as age, sex, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking, blood pressure, obesity, and blood glucose and blood fat levels.
What did the researchers find?
People who had higher uric acid levels were more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Uric acid is measured as milligrams per deciliter. For every 1 miligram per deciliter increase in uric acid, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 20 percent in the original study members and by 15 percent in their children. This held true even after taking many other risk factors for diabetes into account.
What were the limitations of the study?
Although this study took many factors into account that could have affected the results, it is possible that there were other factors that were not considered that could explain some of the link between uric acid and diabetes risk.
What are the implications of the study?
People who have higher uric acid levels, including younger people, have a higher risk of getting diabetes. This information could help health care providers identify people in need of preventive care to avoid getting diabetes and related conditions.
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