Homocysteine definition and heart diesease

Homocysteine definition and heart diesease - picture

FragmentHealth.com » The cardiovascular system » Homocysteine definition

What is Homocysteine and Definition

Homocysteine is an amino acid in the BLOOD that the body’s METABOLISM of the essential amino acid methionine produces. (An essential amino acid is one the body cannot synthesize itself but must obtain from dietary sources.) B vitamins and folic acid are necessary to break down homocysteine. Accumulation of homocysteine in the blood circulation appears to accelerate development of ATHEROSCLEROSIS. In the mid-1990s researchers discovered a connection between elevated blood homocysteine levels and early atherosclerosis. Doctors had known since the 1960s of a rare genetic condition, homocystinuria, that caused extensive atherosclerotic disease in teens and young adults. But new research led them to correlate atherosclerosis with elevated homocysteine levels in adults who had no known genetic foundation for them.

Some researchers believe that elevated homocysteine irritates the inside walls of the arteries. The irritation causes INFLAMMATION, which opens the way for ATHEROSCLEROTIC PLAQUE to infiltrate the intima, the innermost layer of the arterial walls. People between the ages of 45 and 60 who have significant atherosclerosis or CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE (CAD) often have elevated homocysteine levels. In people who have elevated homocysteine levels, atherosclerosis may develop more rapidly and at earlier ages. However, research studies as yet have not established a cause and effect relationship between elevated homocysteine and early atherosclerosis.

Homocysteine Blood Test and Heart Disease

A blood test can measure the homocysteine level in the blood. Most doctors view homocysteine as a risk factor for CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD), though not one that is alone significant enough to cause cardiovascular disease. They recommend people receive the minimum daily amounts of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid through dietary sources when possible and with supplements if necessary, as a matter of general health as well as to aid in breaking down homocysteine. People who have elevated homocysteine levels along with other RISK FACTORS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE should do what they can to reduce their overall risks, though health experts do not advise folic acid supplementation beyond the recommended intake (400 micrograms daily for an adult) as a preventive measure for cardiovascular health. Adequate folic acid intake appears essential for numerous health reasons, and may help reduce the risks for other health conditions.

See also COENZYME Q10; DIET AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH; NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS.

Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine

Each atricle being rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Please rate this article
Article Rating: 2,6 stars of 5

Discussion and opinions:

Insert your opinion:

Tweet this page

Other Articles

Aerobic fitness and Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system |

Aerobic Fitness and Cardiovascular System The efficiency with which the cardiovascular system functions to meet the oxygen needs of cells throughout the body, particularly under the increased pressure of intense physical activity or exercise. The higher a person’s aerobic FITNESS LEVEL, the more air the LUNGS can take in each breath, the more oxygen

Aging, cardiovascular changes that occur with

The cardiovascular system |

The most significant age-related changes in cardiovascular function occur at birth in both sexes and with MENOPAUSE in women. Though changes in METABOLISM occur with aging that affect all body systems, researchers now believe cardiovascular health does not inherently decline simply as a function of aging. DIABETES, OBESITY, lack of physical exercise, and

Aneurysm definition and symptoms

The cardiovascular system |

What is Aneurysm and Definition Aneurysm is a weakened and often distended (stretched) area in the wall of an ARTERY. Though an aneurysm may develop in any artery, the most common location is the descending or abdominal AORTA. An aneurysm is potentially life-threatening. The continual pressure of the BLOOD flowing through the artery pressures the weakened

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

The cardiovascular system |

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome - An inherited ARRHYTHMIA disorder in which an extra conduction pathway, called an accessory pathway, exists between the heart’s atria and ventricles. The accessory pathway allows the heart’s electrical pacing impulse to bypass the normal conductive route, reaching the

Ventricular fibrillation - treatment

The cardiovascular system |

What is Ventricular Fibrillation Ventricular fibrillation - Rapid, irregular, ineffective contractions of the heart’s ventricles. Ventricular fibrillation quickly becomes fatal without treatment. The HEART cannot pump blood to the LUNGS or to the body when it is in ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening event that

Ventricular assist devices (VADs)

The cardiovascular system |

What is Ventricular assist devices (VADs) Ventricular Assist Devices - Implanted mechanical pumps that aid the native HEART, taking over some of the workload of the ventricles. Several types of VADs are available, each with somewhat different features and functions. A VAD may assist the right or left ventricle, and in some cases both ventricles, as a

Venogram - diagnostic procedure - definition

The cardiovascular system |

What is Venogram - diagnostic procedure Venogram is a diagnostic procedure to evaluate the flow of blood in the veins, usually in the legs. The cardiologist may use venogram to diagnose VARICOSE VEINS, VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY, or DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT). For venogram, the radiologist injects a small amount of contrast dye into the affected VEIN network and

Chronic Venous Insufficiency - symptoms and treatment

The cardiovascular system |

What is chronic Venous Insufficiency and Symptoms Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition in which the veins cannot adequately return BLOOD to the HEART, usually as a consequence of defective valves that allow blood to leak back and pool in the veins. Some people do not have valves in their veins, a circumstance that is a CONGENITAL ANOMALY. Venous

Vena Cava - Function and definition

The cardiovascular system |

Vena Cava are the two largest veins in human body together called the venae. These veins collectively return deoxygenated BLOOD to the HEART. Both of them deplete all the blood into the right atrium. The superior vena cava, large but short vein, brings blood from the upper part of the organism, the head and upper limbs, and empties into the top of the right

Vein - what is and definition

The cardiovascular system |

What is Vein and Definition Vein - A blood vessel that carries BLOOD to the HEART. All veins except the PULMONARY VEINS carry deoxygenated blood; the pulmonary veins return oxygenated blood to the heart from the LUNGS. Because veins lack the muscular structure and contractile capability of arteries, they have valves that keep blood moving only in one