What Is the Relationship Between High Cholesterol and Uric Acid?

Side view of a senior woman suffering from neck pain
High uric acid can cause painful, gout-related problems. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images)

Hyperuricemia, an abnormally high level of uric acid in your body, can cause a type of kidney stone and exacerbate gout if excess uric acid forms painful crystals in joints. High cholesterol levels may be associated with the uric acid levels in your body, although more scientific evidence is needed to confirm a link.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a health condition that comprises three or more of these characteristics: an apple-shaped body with a waist size larger than 40 inches for men, or more than 35 inches for women; a high, fasting blood-sugar reading; high blood pressure; high triglycerides and low "good" cholesterol. In a study published in 2007 in "Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology," researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that people with metabolic syndrome also tend to have higher uric acid levels. More research is needed to determine what effect each metabolic syndrome parameter has on uric acid levels in your body and what effect uric acid levels have on each parameter.

Blood Pressure: An Independent Factor?

A study published in 2011 in "Journal of Human Hypertension" found that high blood pressure is independently and directly related to high uric acid in the blood, although the causal relationship between the two is still unknown. This study, conducted on 8,415 human subjects in China, found high blood pressure was associated with high uric acid in the blood regardless of age, gender or other metabolic factors. Researchers found that the association between high blood pressure and high uric acid in the blood was more evident in people with the highest HDL -- or "good" -- cholesterol levels. This led them to conclude that HDL cholesterol might modify uric acid in the blood, but more research is needed.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Link

Your cholesterol levels may be, at the least, indirectly related to the uric acid levels in your body, because cholesterol is linked directly to blood pressure. High "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, increases plaque buildup in arteries, which leaves less space for blood to flow, leading to high blood pressure. On the other hand, HDL helps lower plaque buildup by carrying away cholesterol in the blood so it can be excreted, notes the American Heart Association.

Normalizing Your Cholesterol

More research is needed as to how high LDL, low HDL, high blood pressure or a combination of the three is associated with hyperuricemia. Still, you should control your cholesterol numbers to prevent health problems in general. The American Heart Association recommends exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking and avoiding smoke exposure, and replacing saturated and trans fats and dietary cholesterol with unsaturated fats. Dietary cholesterol and saturated and trans fats are primarily in poultry skin, red-meat fat, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, dairy fat and organ meats, such as liver. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat comes mainly from fish and plant fats, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds and avocado.

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