Prevalence and mechanisms of hyperhomocysteinemia in elderly hospitalized patients.J Nutr Health Aging. 2003; 7(2):111-6.JN
Plasma homocysteine concentrations increase with age and remain an independent risk factor for vascular disease in the elderly. There are negative correlations between plasma homocysteine and serum folate and vitamin B12 concentrations. Two mechanisms, poor nutritional status, and chronic atrophic gastritis, could explain hyperhomocysteinemia.
The purpose of the study was to determine prevalence and mechanisms of hyperhomocysteinemia in older hospitalized patients.
During a 12-month period, all the consecutive hospitalized patients who underwent gastric endoscopy were recruited in this observational prospective study. Clinical, histological, and biological data concerning nutritional status, gastric analysis, homocysteine, vitamin B12, and folate concentrations were collected during the study for each included patient.
One hundred and ninety six patients (132 women and 64 men, mean age: 85.3 5.7 years) were included. Hyperhomocysteinemia (>or= 18 mmol/l) was diagnosed in 45.4 %, cobalamin deficiency in 13.3 %, and folate deficiency in 11.7 % patients. Hyperhomocysteinemia was significantly correlated to cobalamin deficiency (r = - 0.21; p = 0.005). In a sub group of patients without hypothyroidism, or chronic renal impairment, univariate and multivariate analysis showed a significant association between hyper homocysteinemia and low MNA (OR: 0.92; 95% CI 0.85-0.99), and low albumin (OR: 0.92; 95% IC: 0.83-0.99; p = 0.04). No correlation was found between homocysteine concentrations and chronic atrophic gastritis or Helicobacter pylori infection.
Hyperhomocysteinemia seems to be frequent in the elderly and is associated with poor nutritional status rather than chronic atrophic gastritis.