The homocysteine test is a simple test ordered by your physician to measure the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a common type of amino acid that is used by the body to make new proteins. Unusually high levels of homocysteine in the blood are linked to the risk of heart diseases.
According to the US Cardiology (USC) review, elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood is responsible for at least 10% of mortality from cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. So, we highly recommend everyone to get tested for homocysteine levels if you experience any of the symptoms that are caused by high or low homocysteine levels.
The article below covers all the important topics that are related to homocysteine test like the homocysteine test cost, normal homocysteine levels, procedure, preparation, risks and how to get tested for a homocysteine blood test.
For our readers, who are very much interested in knowing the homocysteine test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the homocysteine test cost?
Homocysteine test cost ranges between $68 and $79 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. To view and compare the prices in different labs offered by different providers, click the button below.
Homocysteine test cost with insurance
Most of the health insurance policies in the U.S. rarely covers the cost of the homocysteine test. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your health insurance plan with the insurance company before getting tested for homocysteine levels.
Our homocysteine testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance plan. But, on request, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code that is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is a common type of amino acid present in the bloodstream. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and play many important roles in the body. Generally, homocysteine is present in a very small amount in all the cells of the body. This is because vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid convert homocysteine into other products very quickly.
Why is a homocysteine test done?
The homocysteine test is done to measure the levels of homocysteine in the blood. This test helps to diagnose vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid deficiencies as they are responsible for the metabolism of homocysteine. This test also helps to screen for heart disease and stroke because higher levels of homocysteine can lead to arterial damage and a blood clot in the blood vessels resulting in cardiovascular diseases.
Your physician will order a homocysteine test if you experience the following symptoms that are caused by vitamin deficiencies or if you are at risk of getting heart disease.
Symptoms of vitamin B12, B6, and folate deficiency
- Pale skin
- Sore mouth and tongue
- Loss of appetite
- Tingling in the arms or legs
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle weakness
- Personality changes
The homocysteine test is also ordered to monitor the effectiveness of ongoing treatment for heart disease or stroke.
Normal levels of homocysteine
Generally, the homocysteine levels are present in very small quantities in the blood. The normal homocysteine levels vary based on age and gender. However, the standard range of homocysteine is less than 15 mcmol/l (micromoles per liter). The higher levels of homocysteine are divided into the following three categories based on the severity.
- Moderate – 15 to 30 mcmol/l
- Intermediate – 30 to 100 mcmol/l
- Severe – >100 mcmol/l
How is the homocysteine test done?
It takes less than 5 to 10 minutes to perform this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
For a homocysteine blood test, your physician will ask you to fast for at least 10 to 12 hours before the test. Also, he/she may ask you to stop certain medications or supplements before the test as they can influence the homocysteine levels and result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
Are there any risks in the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in the homocysteine blood test. But sometimes after the blood sample is drawn, you might feel dizziness, slight pain, bruise or redness in the injected area for a very little period. If you have any abnormal bleeding in the injected area, inform your physician immediately.
What does the test result mean?
If the homocysteine levels are higher than normal, it indicates the possibility of the following complications.
- Vitamin B12, B6 or folic acid deficiency
- Osteoporosis (weakened bones)
- Homocystinuria (a disorder of methionine metabolism leading to an abnormal accumulation of homocysteine in the blood or urine)
- Atherosclerosis (build-up of fats and cholesterol in the walls of the artery)
- Venous thrombosis (blood clot in the veins)
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
How to treat higher homocysteine levels?
If your physician thinks that the cause of higher homocysteine level is a vitamin deficiency, then he/she will prescribe you a healthy balanced diet plan or daily vitamin supplements to get enough vitamins and nutrients.
If he/she thinks that your elevated homocysteine level can put you at risk of cardiovascular diseases, then he/she might order imaging tests such as MRI and CT to look at the heart and the blood vessels.
The homocysteine test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the homocysteine test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
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