Elevated Albumin Levels in Urine Raise Hypertension Risk

Findings suggest current concept of 'normal' protein secretion needs revision

MONDAY, June 30, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy people with elevated levels of albumin in their urine, even within the range considered normal, are at increased risk for high blood pressure, say researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

To help prevent cardiovascular disease, the researchers suggested the definition of normal urinary albumin excretion should be reconsidered.

Previous research has found that higher levels of urinary albumin excretion, even within the normal range, are associated with cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes or hypertension. But it hasn't been clear whether this was also true in healthy people.

The Brigham and Women's team analyzed data on 2,179 women without baseline hypertension or diabetes, and with normal levels of urine albumin, enrolled in the Nurses' Health Studies. The researchers found that higher levels of urinary albumin excretion, even within the normal range, increased a person's risk of developing hypertension.

Among older women (median age 65), those with the highest levels of albumin excretion were 76 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those with the lowest levels. Among younger women (median age 44), those with the highest levels had a 35 percent increased risk.

The study is published inthe October issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

These findings, along with the results of other studies, suggest "it is time to re-evaluate our current concept of 'normal' albumin excretion," the researchers wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about high blood pressure.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, June 25, 2008
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