Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
What are the possible symptoms and signs of elevated homocysteine levels?
Elevated homocysteine levels in the body do not cause any symptoms.
Elevated homocysteine levels affect the interior lining of blood vessels in the body, increasing the
risk of atherosclerosis or narrowing of blood vessels. This can result in early
heart attack and stroke.
There is a relationship between the levels of homocysteine in the body and
the size of the carotid arteries that supply the brain with blood; the higher
homocysteine level, the narrower or more stenosed the carotid artery.
In infants who have the genetic condition homocystinuria, the inherited
abnormalities affect the body's metabolism of homocysteine to cysteine. This may
result in dislocation of the lens in the eye, sunken chest, Marfan-type appearance (long thin body type), mental retardation, and
Neonatal strokes may also be seen with high homocysteine levels.
In pregnancy, homocysteine levels tend to
decrease. Elevated homocysteine levels may be associated with some fetal
abnormalities and with potential blood vessel problems in the placenta,
causing abruption. There may also be an association with