Homocysteine level lab test is a blood test that measures the amount of homocysteine present in the blood.
Why is the homocysteine level lab test done?
A homocysteine level lab test is done in order to:
Diagnose vitamin B12, vitamin B6, or folic acid deficiency,
Diagnose homocystinuria (inherited disorder in which body is unable to breakdown certain proteins),
Screen for heart disease in people at high risk for heart attack or stroke,
Monitor people who have heart disease.
What does a homocysteine level lab test measure?
A homocysteine level lab test measures the amount of homocysteine present in the blood. Homocysteine is a chemical that your body uses to make proteins.
Are there any risks associated with this test?
There are no known risks associated with this test.
How should I prepare for this test?
You may need to fast for 8-12 hours before this test.
What happens if homocysteine is high?
High homocysteine levels in the blood can damage the lining of the arteries. High levels may also make the blood clot more easily than it should. This can increase the risk of blood vessel blockages.
What causes high levels of homocysteine?
Poor diet, smoking, high alcohol intake, some prescription drugs, diabetes (high blood sugar), rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of joints), and poor thyroid function increase the level of homocysteine.
Can increased alcohol intake affect my homocysteine level?
Chronic (long term) alcoholism increases homocysteine level in absence of any other underlying condition.
Normal level of homocysteine is less than 15 mcmol/L.
WHY DO I NEED A HOMOCYSTEINE TEST?
You may need this test if you have symptoms of a vitamin B or folic acid deficiency. These include:
Sore tongue and mouth
Tingling in the hands, feet, arms, and/or legs (in vitamin B12 deficiency)
You may also need this test if you are at high risk for heart disease because of prior heart problems or a family history of heart disease. Excess levels of homocysteine can build up in the arteries, which may increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.