Prevalences of hyperhomocysteinemia, unfavorable cholesterol profile and hypertension in European populations

A. de Bree*, N.M. van der Put, L.I. Mennen, W.M. Verschuren, H.J. Blom, P. Galan, C.J. Bates, W. Herrmann, M. Ullrich, J. Dierkes, S Westphal, L.M. Bouter, R.J. Heine, C.D. Stehouwer, J.M. Dekker, G.N. Nijpels, F. Araujo, L.M. Cunha Ribeiro, H. Refsum, S. VollsetO. Nygard, P.M. Ueland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hyperhomocysteinemia (HHCY) is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). HHCY may interact with hypertension (HTEN) and an unfavorable cholesterol profile (UNFAVCHOL) to alter the risk of CVD. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalences of HHCY (1) isolated and (2) in combination with UNFAVCHOL and/or HTEN in different age categories. To provide information that may improve the screening and treatment of subjects at risk of CVD. DESIGN: Cross-sectional data on 12,541 men and 12,948 women aged 20 + y were used from nine European studies. RESULTS: The prevalence of isolated HHCY was 8.5% in subjects aged 20-40 y, 4.7% in subjects aged 40-60 y and 5.9% in subjects aged over 60 y. When combining all age groups, 5.3% had isolated HHCY and an additional 5.6% had HHCY in combination with HTEN and/or UNFAVCHOL. The combinations of risk factors increased with age and, except for HHCY&UNFAVCHOL, were more prevalent than predicted by chance. Of the young subjects (20-40 y), 24% suffered from one or more of the investigated CVD risk factors. This figure was 75.1% in the old subjects (60+ years). CONCLUSIONS: A substantial number of subjects in selected European populations have HHCY (10.9%). In half of these cases, subjects suffer also from other CVD risk factors like UNFAVCHOL and HTEN. Older people in particular tend to have more than one risk factor. Healthcare professionals should be aware of this when screening and treating older people not only for the conventional CVD risk factors like UNFAVCHOL and HTEN but also HHCY, as this can easily be reduced through increased intake of folic acid via supplement or foods fortified with folic acid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-488
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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