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Why is it important to monitor homocysteine levels?
Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. If a person develops any of these diseases and does not have increased risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, then the physician often looks for more unusual causes and risks, including checking homocysteine levels in the blood.
Homocystinuria is a rare, inherited disease in which affected persons have abnormally high levels of homocysteine due to abnormal metabolism of the amino acid methionine. This condition is associated with a number of different birth defects including abnormalities of the musculoskeletal system. In infants who have a family history of homocystinuria, early screening for elevated levels may help prevent future illnesses related to this metabolic defect. Moreover, infants and young children who have eye problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), changes in the lens of the eye, bone abnormalities, or unusual body shape may be screened for elevated homocysteine levels.
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