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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2004 Sep;6(9):494-8; quiz 499-500.

Relationship of homocysteine with cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentration is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and may also be associated with hypertension. Although links have been established between hyperhomocysteinemia and elevated risk for cardiovascular events, the precise role of plasma Hcy in cardiovascular disease is unclear. Plasma Hcy increases with aging and is associated with other health-related behaviors, including smoking and diet patterns. Both epidemiologic and longitudinal clinical investigations have investigated the possible contribution of plasma Hcy to cardiovascular disease, and most report an association of plasma Hcy with the risk for cardiovascular and cerebral events. Some reports describe a significant relationship between Hcy and blood pressure levels, as well as higher Hcy in hypertensives compared to normotensives. Other studies find that the effect of Hcy disappears following adjustment for other risk factors. Because Hcy cosegregates with other risk factors, it has been difficult to identify an independent effect of Hcy on cardiovascular disease or hypertension. Hcy can be modified to some extent by vitamin supplementation. Hcy reduction may have some benefit in reducing cardiovascular risk in some patients, particularly the elderly. Because the question of an independent role of Hcy on risk for cardiovascular disease has not been determined, the assessment and treatment of Hcy should be approached in the context of other modifiable risk factors.

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