Homocysteine is ordered for a variety of clinical purposes including heart conditions, and vitamin b12 or folate deficiency. Testing homocysteine can be effective in identifying abnormal levels of B12 and folate before symptoms are present. Practitioners will order this test on patients who may be malnourished or with poor nutrition. This includes the elderly, drug addicts, and alcohol addicts.
Individuals who are at risk of, or have a family history of heart disease or stroke are also strong candidates for this test. Practitioners will also order this test on patients with a family history of coronary artery disease. Young children and babies are tested for homocysteine if they test positive for homocystinuria (high levels of methionine) during routine screenings.
Symptoms that qualify a patient to have a homocysteine test include but are not limited to:
Practitioners order this test on patients who have recently experienced a stroke or heart attack in order to guide treatment. This is due to the test’s ability to assess an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Practitioners can also order the homocysteine test on patients over the age of 30 who are going through supplemental treatment. This allows for the practitioner to assess whether or not certain supplements will have a negative impact on the patient’s heart.
Patient Preparation: A fasting specimen is required. Patients should fast for 12 hours prior to specimen collection.