India is home to nearly 60% of the world’s heart disease cases, despite having less than 20% of the global population, as per public health data. Alarmingly, high obesity and hypertension rates in younger individuals put them at risk for early-onset heart disease. With 50% of Indian men experiencing heart attacks before the age of 50, and 25% before 40, women too face high mortality rates from heart disease.
Common lifestyle factors contributing to heart disease in young Indians include unhealthy habits, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking. While diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol are well-known cardiac risk markers, elevated blood homocysteine levels are another independent risk factor. Dr. Sameer Gupta, an Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology for the Metro Group of Hospitals, explains the importance of homocysteine testing and its relation to heart disease.
A recent analysis by Tata 1mg Labs examined data from 4609 homocysteine tests conducted in Mumbai over the last two years. The study found that 87.57% of the tested individuals had higher-than-normal homocysteine levels, making them susceptible to heart diseases like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. Interestingly, women fared better in the tests than men, with only 36.84% having elevated levels compared to 62.93% of men.
Dr. Gupta stresses the importance of interpreting homocysteine levels in correlation with other risk factors and patient profiles. Although high homocysteine levels are a marker for increased risk, there is no clear data proving that lowering homocysteine levels will reduce heart disease risk. Nonetheless, regular heart health evaluations and early detection of heart conditions are essential for timely treatment and improved health outcomes.