Poor nutrition and alcohol consumption are related to high serum homocysteine level at post-stroke

  • Choi, Seung-Hye (Department of Nursing Science, Suwon University) ;
  • Choi-Kwon, Smi (College of Nursing & Research Institute of Nursing Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Min-Sun (Nutritional Science, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University) ;
  • Kim, Jong-Sung (Neurology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine)
  • Received : 2015.04.28
  • Accepted : 2015.06.30
  • Published : 2015.10.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Increased serum homocysteine (Hcy) levels have been reported to be related to the occurrence of cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases. High serum Hcy levels are also related to the development of secondary stroke and all-cause mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of high serum homocysteine level and relating factors, and the change over the 10 month period post-stroke. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Consecutive stroke patients who were admitted to the Asan Medical Center were enrolled. Ten months after the onset of stroke, an interview with a structured questionnaire was performed and blood samples were obtained for the biochemical parameters. Nutritional status was determined using the mini nutritional assessment (MNA) score and dietary nutrient intakes were also obtained using a 24 hour recall method. RESULTS: Out of 203 patients, 84% were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, and 26% had high homocysteine levels at 10 months post-stroke. Using logistic regression, the factors related with high homocysteine levels at 10 months post-stroke included heavy alcohol consumption (P = 0.020), low MNA scores (P = 0.026), low serum vitamin $B_{12}$ (P = 0.021) and low serum folate levels (P = 0.003). Of the 156 patients who had normal homocysteine levels at admission, 36 patients developed hyperhomocysteinemia 10 months post-stroke, which was related to heavy alcohol consumption (P = 0.013). Persistent hyperhomocysteinemia, observed in 22 patients (11%), was related to male sex (P = 0.031), old age (P = 0.042), low vitamin $B_6$ intake (P = 0.029), and heavy alcohol consumption (P = 0.013). CONCLUSION: Hyperhomocysteinemia is common in post-stroke, and is related to malnutrition, heavy alcohol drinking and low serum level of folate and vitamin $B_{12}$. Strategies to prevent or manage high homocysteine levels should consider these factors.


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