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Information On Homocysteine Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the human body. Homocysteine is used for various important body functions which are associated with the production of energy and the production of proteins. Like many substances associated with important body functions, homocysteine is dangerous if it is present in higher than normal quantities in the blood. A normal concentration of homocysteine is needed for good health, but a high concentration can be associated with a number of serious health conditions including coronary artery disease. The presence of excess quantities of homocysteine leads to the thickening of artery walls. When the artery walls thicken, their internal diameter reduces. This reduces the amount of blood that can be transported through the vessel. This can be risky to all parts of the body. However, there is a particular risk to the brain, which, as we all know, can cause severe and permanent health problems.

Serum Homocysteine Test

One may therefore question what homocynteine test is. The homocysteine test is a standard blood test. As such, there is no difference in this test when compared to any other blood test. For the homocysteine test, patients must be on a fast for up to 12 hours before the test. Fasting is essential to ensure that there is no abnormal amount of food in the blood stream. It becomes much easier to detect the level of homocysteine when the patient has been fasting. Once the patient is present at the clinic for the serum homocysteine test, blood is drawn from the vein in the upper forearm. Once the sufficient amount of blood has been collected, the patient is free to return to normal life. In most cases, the homocysteine test is conducted in the morning so that the patient can sleep through the fasting period. There is usually minimal pain and no complication associated with the standard blood drawing procedure.

Test Results and Levels

The homocysteine test results will be produced in a laboratory where the blood sample is being analyzed. In many cases, the blood sample is also tested for a number of different substances and components, all of which are associated with the health of the individual. The homocysteine test results usually take a day to be prepared. If the patient is in a hospital and deemed to be in an emergency situation, the homocysteine test results will be rushed. A homocysteine home test is not recommended as the results need to come from the testing lab itself.

The homocysteine test levels are used to figure out the extent of the problem and to therefore plan the appropriate treatment to help control the level of homocysteine.