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Ann Epidemiol. 1999 Jul;9(5):307-13.

Distribution and correlates of elevated total homocyst(e)ine: the Stroke Prevention in Young Women Study.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Health Branch, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



To determine the distribution and correlates of elevated total homocyst(e)ine (tHcy) concentration in a population of premenopausal black and white women.


Data from the Stroke Prevention in Young Women Study (N = 304), a population-based study of risk factors for stroke in women aged 15-44 years of age, were used to determine the distribution and correlates of elevated tHcy in black (N = 103) and white women (N = 201).


The mean tHcy level for the population was 6.58 micromol/L (range 2.89-26.5 micromol/L). Mean tHcy levels increased with age, cholesterol level, alcohol intake, and number of cigarettes smoked (all: p < 0.05). There were no race differences (mean tHcy 6.72 micromol/L among blacks and 6.51 micromol/L among whites; p = 0.4346). Regular use of multivitamins and increasing education was associated with significant reductions in tHcy concentration. Approximately 13% of the sample had elevated tHcy levels, defined as a tHcy concentration > or = 10.0 micromol/L. Multivariate-adjusted correlates of elevated tHcy included education > 12 vs. < or = 12 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.2-0.8); smoking > or = 20 cigarettes/day vs. nonsmokers (OR = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.1-7.3); and the regular use of multivitamins (OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-0.9).


These results suggest that a substantial proportion of healthy young premenopausal women have tHcy levels that increase their risk for vascular disease. A number of potentially modifiable behavioral and environmental factors appear to be significantly related to elevated tHcy levels in young women.

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