Date of this Version
Published in: Homocysteine Metabolism: From Basic Science to Clinical Medicine, ed. Ian Graham, Helga Refsum, Irwin H. Rosenberg, Per Magne Ueland, & Jill M. Shuman (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997).
Evidence from scores of observational studies from many parts of the world have demonstrated an association between elevated blood total homocysteine levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke. These conditions are more prevalent in males than in females in virtually all populations studied, and their prevalence increases with advancing age. A much smaller body of data exists that describes an increasing tendency to higher homocysteine levels with increasing age.
There have been no previous reports of blood homocysteine levels measured in a cross-sectional sample throughout the age spectrum from childhood through the elderly. However, the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) in the United States provides such a representative sample. We present here the results of the homocysteine analyses on 10,000 samples of serum representing ages 12 years to 100 years in both males and females.