Homocysteine
(Hcy)

Alternate Names

  • Plasma Total Homocysteine

Hcy is an amino acid necessary for normal body function. High homocysteine blood levels can cause damage to the inner lining of blood vessels by forming plaques made from LDL cholesterol, which also stiffens the blood vessels. These blood vessel changes lead to heart disease, stroke, the formation of blood clots in the extremities, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). The Hcy level can be used by itself as an indicator for risk of developing the above conditions and diseases.

Since B vitamin deficiencies cause high Hcy blood levels, these levels are also tested at the same time. Homocysteine levels greater than 15 micromoles/Liter indicate a high risk for the development of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. Hcy blood levels may normally increase with age.

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