Homocysteine (cont.)

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Who should undergo testing for homocysteine blood levels?

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Currently, there are no official recommendations as to who should undergo testing for homocysteine blood levels. Before more scientific data become available from the currently ongoing studies, many experts do not recommend a screening test for blood homocysteine levels, even in patients with unexplained blood clot formation. In addition, the consensus recommendation is against treating elevated homocysteine levels with vitamins to prevent heart disease. Rarely, a few specialists may test for elevated homocysteine levels in patients with early onset of blood clot formation, heart attacks, strokes, or other symptoms related to atherosclerosis, especially if these patients do not have typical risk factors, such as smoking cigarettes, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high LDL cholesterol levels and they suspect genetic causes

There is also no consensus as to the optimal dose of folic acid and other B vitamins for the treatment of elevated blood homocysteine levels. (For example, treatment of patients with high homocysteine levels may require higher doses of folic acid and other B vitamins than the amounts contained in a multivitamin.) Therefore, a decision regarding testing should be individualized after consulting with your doctor and/or a specialist in genetic diseases.

REFERENCES:

American Heart Association. Homocysteine, Folic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease.

Abrahaham, MD, J.M. et al. The homocysteine hypothesis: Still relevant to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine December 2010 vol. 77 12 911-918.

UpToDate. Overview of homocysteine.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2014

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Homocysteine - Elevated Levels Question: Do you or someone you know have homocystinuria and elevated homocysteine levels? Please describe your experience.
Homocysteine - Lowering Levels Question: What supplements or other lifestyle changes have you found effective in lowering your elevated homocysteine levels?
Homocysteine - Testing Question: Please describe the decision to test you or someone you know for blood homocysteine levels.

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