What is a homocysteine test?
A homocysteine test measures the homocysteine levels in a blood sample. Homocysteine is an amino acid. The body employs amino acids, which are molecules, to create proteins.
Normally the homocysteine levels are low in the body. That's because the body utilizes vitamin B6,vitamin B12 , and folic acid (also named as folate or vitamin B9) in order to break down homocysteine and change it into other substances which the body needs. Homocysteine levels that are too high in the blood might indicate either a problem with this mechanism or a deficiency in vitamins.
Homocysteine levels that are too high can harm the lining of your arteries and increase your chance of developing blood clots. This might make you more vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes, and other heart issues and blood vessel conditions.
Other names: Other names are total homocysteine, plasma total homocysteine
What are the uses?
A homocysteine test is used to:
- Find out the deficiency in folic acid,vitamin B6, or vitamin B12. Homocysteine is broken down by these vitamins. So if your body doesn't get enough of these, your homocysteine levels will increase. To check the vitamin B levels, a blood test called a homocysteine test might be performed.
- Aid in homocystinuria diagnosis. An uncommon hereditary condition called homocystinuria stops your body from utilizing a certain amino acid to create essential proteins. Although symptoms often develop in the first year of birth, they sometimes don't appear until childhood or later. Blood clots,vision issues, and weak bones are common symptoms.
- If you already have a higher risk, you should better diagnose for the risk for a heart attack or stroke.Your doctor may prescribe homocysteine test if you have been diagnosed with blood vessel disease or if you have conditions that increase your chances for heart and blood vessel disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Routine homocysteine testing to assess a person’s risk of heart disease is not advised by medical professionals. This is so because it's unclear how much homocysteine levels impact heart and blood vessel conditions. Homocysteine reduction hasn't been found to minimize the risk of heart attack according to research.
What is the need for a Homocysteine Test?
- Skin discoloration
- Heart palpitations
- Sores on the tongue
- Tingling sensation or numbness in your hands, feet, arms, and legs.
Doctor may prescribe this test if you have vitamin B12 deficiency or folic acid deficiency due to:
- Increasing age (Older people often can't absorb enough vitamin B12 from food).
- Have alcohol use disorder or drug addiction.
Doctor may recommend this test if you:
- Have had a heart attack or stroke
- Have one or more conditions that increase your risk for heart attack or stroke, such as high LDL "bad" cholesterol or high blood pressure
What happens during this test?
A tiny needle will be used by a phelobotomist to draw blood from a vein in your arm. A tiny amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial once the needle has been placed. The needle may hurt somewhat when it enters or exits your body. Usually, this test only needs a few minutes.
How to prepare for the test?
Before a homocysteine test, you might need to fast (i.e., not eat or drink) for eight to twelve hours. Your test results might be impacted by some drugs and supplements. Inform your healthcare professional about all of your medications and dietary supplements, including vitamin B. However, do not stop taking any medications unless your doctor instructs you to.
Does the test include any risks?
No, there is no risk or danger associated with this test. Even though you can have some little discomfort or bruising where the needle was inserted, mostly it goes in ew minutes.
What do the findings indicate?
A high homocysteine level might mean:
- You do not consume enough folic acid or vitamin B12 in your diet.
- You or your child have homocystinuria. You will likely require further tests to confirm a homocystinuria diagnosis.
- Your have a high risk of the chance of developing heart disease, a stroke, or other problems with your blood vessels.
Other illnesses, including osteoporosis, chronic renal disease, hypothyroidism, Alzheimer's disease, or dementia, may also cause higher-than-normal homocysteine levels.
High homocysteine levels don't usually indicate a serious illness that needs medical attention. The outcomes could be impacted by:
- The age: Your homocysteine levels might increase as you age.
- gender: Homocysteine levels are typically greater in men than in women, but they rise in women following menopause.
Speak with your provider if you have any questions regarding your results.
Important information to know about Homocysteine Test?
Your doctor could advise you to adjust your diet if you have high homocysteine levels. Make ensure you get the proper quantity of vitamins by eating a balanced diet. Consult your physician beforehand if you're contemplating taking vitamin supplements.