Homocysteine

Clinical definition of the Homocysteine test
Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood and is usually, a byproduct of consuming meat. Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood have been related to atherosclerosis, higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease.
Homocysteine levels are influenced greatly by both diet (folic acid, vitamins B6 & B12) and by genetic factors. Studies have found that higher levels of vitamin B & folic Acid seem to have a positive effect in partly reducing the amount of homocysteine in the blood.
Foods high in folic acid are green, leafy vegetables and grain products; Vitamin B12 is Eggs and Milk and Vitamin B6 are peanuts, cashew nuts, potatoes and wheat products.

Why is the Homocysteine test done?
This test may be done in a suspected case of deficiency of Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid or in a case of homocystinuria. It may also be done as a part of a lipid profile assessment or as a follow up to a heart attack or stroke.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Homocysteine test is done?

  • Extreme tiredness and weakness
  • Seizures
  • Dislocation of the lens of the eye
  • Abnormal bone structure
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Blood clots
  • Or decreased weight or rate of weight gain
  • Slowed development in children

Who should do the Homocysteine test (Target population)?
People seen with the above signs and symptoms, especially children & elderly who may be suspected to suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid.

What should I do before the Homocysteine test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum

(Blood Sample)

Venipuncture

(Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm)

Fasting Required.

Fasting samples have to be collected after a minimum 10-12 hour overnight fasting status.

Clear fluids like water is allowed during this period. Refrain from consumption of early morning beverages like tea, coffee and milk until specimen collection is completed.

In case of diabetics on oral or injectable hypoglycemic agents, consult your physician about continuing with these medications prior to specimen collection.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Homocysteine test results?

Reference Range*

Interpretation

Female

4.44 - 13.56 µmol/L

Male

5.46 - 16.2 µmol/L

Inference: It may be suggested that people who have higher homocysteine levels usually have a much greater risk of heart attack or stroke than those with average levels.
‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Homocysteine test

  • B12 or Folate deficiency
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • Homocystinuria

Other tests related to the Homocysteine test

  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid (Serum)
  • Folic Acid (RBC)
  • Cardiac Risk profile

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Homocysteine

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