The media are making us more aware of the importance of eating a balanced diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables, and how we should try to avoid foods high in sugar, fat and salt. Smoking is completely out of the question, and drinking alcohol should only be done in moderation. If we follow these guidelines we will be more likely to live longer healthier lives.
However, we could still fall prey to certain diseases. A good indicator of which is a substance called Homocysteine. The Homocysteine test from YORKTEST Laboratories helps identify if you have a raised level of Homocysteine in your blood.
THE FACTS ABOUT HOMOCYSTEINE
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring sulphur containing amino acid. It is involved in essential chemical pathways in the body and an increasing number of medical experts are saying that raised levels in the blood may be as, or more important than, raised levels of cholesterol.
Many factors are thought to raise levels of Homocysteine. Among them are poor diet – leading to low levels of vitamins B6 and B12, poor lifestyle, especially smoking and high alcohol intake, some prescription drugs, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and poor thyroid function. Normal levels increase with age and higher levels are more common in men than women. As with cholesterol, family history and genetic make up can play a part in causing raised levels as can obesity and lack of exercise.
WHAT EFFECT DOES HOMOCYSTEINE HAVE ON YOUR BODY
High levels of Homocysteine cause damage to the wall of the arteries. This increases the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.
People at high risk include people with a poor diet, lack of regular exercise, are overweight, suffer from diabetes, smokers and those that consume excess amounts of coffee or alcohol. Even people with an active, healthy lifestyle may still be at risk, if there is a family history of high levels of Homocysteine or disease.
Levels of Homocysteine can increase with age, oestrogen deficiency and with some long term medications, including corticosteroids and some cancer treatment drugs. Strict vegetarians and vegans may also be at risk and people that suffer from stress can suffer too.
Whatever the state of your health a Homocysteine test can help you to assess what your risk might be – allowing you to take action to reduce that risk and give you peace of mind for the future.
There are always people who are at high risk and low risk, but the only way to find out definitively is to have a Homocysteine test.
HOW DO YOU TAKE THE TEST?
The YORKTEST Homocysteine Test is a simple finger prick blood test that can be taken from the comfort of your own home for as little as €99.
Taking the test is simple; firstly, it is a fasting sample and needs to be done first thing on a Monday morning. To start, wash your hands in warm to hot water to encourage good blood circulation, then prick your finger using the lancet provided and put a couple of drops of blood onto the Plasma Separator; about 4 or 5 drops. This card has been specially designed to separate the plasma from the blood. Following the instructions enclosed in the kit complete the test as directed. You then post your sample back to our laboratory for testing using a pre-paid envelope enclosed. Your results will then be sent out to you within 15 working days. We do advise that you monitor your Homocysteine levels after taking vitamin supplements and we advise to retest after three months. The Homocysteine Test can then be taken as part of your annual health check.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY HOMOCYSTEINE LEVELS ARE HIGH?
It is possible to reduce high levels of Homocysteine in less than 3 months if you are careful and eat the correct nutrients.
For more information or to order a Homocysteine test kit simply contact YORKTEST on 01 2022701 or order online at www.yorktest.ie