What To Expect During The Test
A nurse or other healthcare professional will draw blood from a vein, usually on the inside of your elbow or the back of your hand.
First, they clean the skin over the vein with antiseptic. Next, they wrap an elastic band around your arm, causing your veins to bulge out slightly. The healthcare professional then inserts a small needle into the vein and collects your blood in a sterile vial.
After the healthcare professional collects your blood sample, they remove the elastic band around your arm and ask you to apply pressure to the puncture site with gauze. They may use tape or a bandage to hold the gauze in place.
Crp Levels: What’s Normal What’s Not
The CRP test results may be reported in milligrams per liter or milligrams per deciliter .
Based on your CRP levels, a doctor can begin to narrow down the possible causes of an illness. Some of the likely causes can be broken down by the following CRP results:
- Less than 6 mg/L : Normal CRP range seen in healthy people
- 3 to 10 mg/L : Normal to moderate inflammation
- 10 to 100 mg/L : Whole-body inflammation due to autoimmune disease, bronchitis, pancreatitis, heart attack, cancer, or another cause
- Over 100 mg/L : Marked whole-body inflammation due to acute bacterial infections, acute viral infections, systemic vasculitis, or major trauma, among other causes
- Over 500 mg/L : Severe body-wide inflammation most often due to severe bacterial infections
What Are The Normal Values For Crp Blood Test
We have opted to use the more sensitive version of the CRP test, the hs-CRP test, as part of our home blood testing. This means that we will be able to identify even trace amounts of CRP in your blood.
According to most labs, the reference normal value of hs-CRP for individuals who have no underlying health issues should be below 10mg/L 1.
However, at ElevateMe, we use optimal ranges which are different from reference ranges. Optimal ranges are developed using the average values of the healthiest of individuals. Here are the optimal ranges for hs-CRP. For an optimum life, you should have values in the green band.
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Factors That Can Affect Crp Levels
Certain factors can affect C-reactive protein levels, including:
- Medications: Some cholesterol-reducing medicines and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce inflammation and lower CRP levels.
- Exercise: Strenuous exercise can spike CRP levels, so its best to avoid a hard workout right before your blood draw.
- Recent injuries or infection: Even minor conditions can cause a temporary increase in C-reactive protein levels. This may then conceal other chronic conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
- Magnesium supplementation: This may decrease C-reactive protein levels in some people. Ask your provider about whether you should stop taking supplements before having your blood drawn.
- Hormone levels: Individuals using estrogen-based birth control or hormone replacements may have increased CRP levels. Likewise, pregnancy may elevate C-reactive protein levels, particularly during the later stages.
- Other factors: Certain individuals may have higher baseline CRP levels including women, seniors, smokers, and people with diabetes, obesity, or depression.
Factors To Anticipate During The Crp Test
Blood would be drawn from your vein by a medical professional. This blood specimen is usually drawn from your elbow region or the hand.
The healthcare worker would first clear the vein area, fasten a band around your arm to then inject the vein to draw blood.
Subsequently, the nurse will take out the band and apply cotton to the site to regulate the blood flow.
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When Should You Get A Crp Test
In a medical view, whenever you do not feel 100%, a CRP test is carried out to identify if there is an infection. Although ElevateMe is not a medical diagnostic service, regular CRP tests can help create a picture of your overall health and the ability of your immune system to react to any infections and diseases.
What Type Of Results Do You Get For A C
Blood test reports, including CRP blood test reports, usually provide the following information:
- The name of the blood test or what was measured in your blood.
- The number or measurement of your blood test result.
- The normal measurement range for that test.
- Information that indicates if your result is normal or abnormal or high or low.
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It’s A Good Predictor Of Heart Disease
Even if heart attacks were caused by inflammation, CRP testing wouldn’t be useful unless it’s proved to be a good predictor. In other words, studies have to show that there’s a tight correlation between high C-reactive protein levels and the chances of having a heart attack.
To make a long story short, that’s just what a series of studies published in prestigious journals has shown. One, in the Nov. 14, 2002, New England Journal of Medicine , concluded that CRP outperforms LDL cholesterol as a predictor of cardiovascular risk. In addition, the authors found that the two tests identify different high-risk groups, so using both is better than relying on either alone.
What Is The Difference Between A Crp Test And An Hs
The hs-CRP test is fairly new and is yet to be used in widescale practice. Furthermore, the hs-CRP test is an extremely sensitive test that identifies small units of CRP to give a more accurate reading. This becomes useful when assessing heart health due to atherosclerosis being connected to long-term low-level inflammation4. More information on atherosclerosis and heart health is available in our post on the cholesterol test here.
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Comparing And Contrasting A C
The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is another way to measure inflammation with a sample of blood. It is a less direct measure than the CRP test. Because the CRP level responds much more quickly to changes in inflammatory activity, it can give doctors more timely information.
The ESR has a role in certain conditions where the information it provides may contribute to the decision-making process. Your physician will decide whether both tests are needed to better understand your condition. Other names for the ESR include SED rate, sedimentation rate, and Westergren sedimentation rate.
I Got My Test Results Back And My Levels Are High Whats Causing This
So youve got your results back and you want to improve your situation.
What can you do now?
First of all its good to rule out non-serious causes that may have spiked your levels temporarily.
- You have a mild infection.
- You have an intrauterine device in place.
- You are pregnant.
- You are very overweight
If youve ruled out those possibilities and still think something is up then?youll want to pinpoint what it is thats causing the elevated CRP levels. Maybe its still just something passing through your system, but it might be a serious infection or disorder.
But how to find out?
Since C-reactive protein is so closely related to inflammation, youll want to ask your doctor about investigating deeper into inflammatory disorders/diseases that you might be prone to developing or have already succumb to.
Theres broader tests that can show more indicators?of inflammation and can help you and your doctor pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.
A test I highly recommend is a broad health check which looks at a bunch of markers in your blood.
The Health Check Plus test from True Health Labs looks at these markers, is inexpensive and can be done without an appointment with your doctor.
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What Are Normal Crp Levels
Laboratories measure CRP in milligrams of CRP per liter of blood . In healthy adults, normal CRP levels should be less than 3 mg/L, although reference ranges vary. In fact, the level of CRP that is truly normal is not known. Typically, CRP levels above 3.0 mg/L indicate inflammation. CRP value also normally increases with age, in African American individuals, and in females.
The table below shows what the different CRP levels could indicate. But bear in mind that these ranges may vary slightly between laboratories.
How Does Crp Relate To Cardiovascular Risk
Your level of C-reactive protein can be an indicator of how at risk you are for developing cardiovascular problems. This is because the development of atherosclerosis is associated with inflammation within the vessel walls. The result is higher levels of CRP in patients with atherosclerosis than in those without atherosclerosis.
The value of knowing CRP levels depends on whether you fall into one of three cardiovascular risk groups:
- Low risk because of low cholesterol levels and little history of risk factors that is, no diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoking, and no family history of heart attacks at an early age. Even a higher level of CRP will probably not put you at a level of risk that requires than lifestyle changes.
- Intermediate risk helpful to know CRP level, because it can provide missing piece of information for physician deciding next step in treatment
- High risk not essential to know your CRP, because you should already be combining aggressive treatment with lifestyle changes to lower your risk
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Coronary Heart Disease Risk
Arterial damage results from white blood cell invasion and inflammation within the wall. CRP is a general marker for inflammation and infection, so it can be used as a very rough proxy for heart disease risk. Since many things can cause elevated CRP, this is not a very specific prognostic indicator. Nevertheless, a level above 2.4 mg/L has been associated with a doubled risk of a coronary event compared to levels below 1 mg/L however, the study group in this case consisted of patients who had been diagnosed with unstable angina pectoris whether elevated CRP has any predictive value of acute coronary events in the general population of all age ranges remains unclear. Currently, C-reactive protein is not recommended as a cardiovascular disease screening test for average-risk adults without symptoms.
- Low Risk: less than 1.0 mg/L
- Average risk: 1.0 to 3.0 mg/L
- High risk: above 3.0 mg/L
But hs-CRP is not to be used alone and should be combined with elevated levels of cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides, and glucose level. Smoking, hypertension and diabetes also increase the risk level of cardiovascular disease.
Can I Take The Test At Home
Options are available for at-home CRP testing. For most of these tests, you collect a blood sample at home and then mail it to a laboratory where it can be analyzed.
The blood sample for at-home CRP tests is taken from your fingertip using a very small needle called a lancet. You then apply a drop of blood to a special test paper that can be processed by the lab. Results are usually provided through a secure website or smartphone app.
At-home CRP tests can be purchased without a prescription, but it is generally best to consult with your doctor before taking an at-home CRP test. Your doctor can discuss the appropriateness of testing and help interpret any test results.
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What Does A High Crp Level Mean
If you have a moderately to severely elevated CRP level, it probably means you have some type of inflammation. But a CRP test cant show the cause of the inflammation or where it is in your body. Because of this, your healthcare provider will likely order additional tests if your result shows a high CRP level.
How high your CRP level is can mean different things.
A CRP test result of 1.0 to 10.0 milligrams per deciliter is generally considered a moderately elevated level. This result may indicate any of the following conditions:
- Systemic inflammation from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis , systemic lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune conditions.
- Major injury .
A CRP test result of more than 50 mg/dL is generally considered severe elevation. Results over 50 mg/L are associated with acute bacterial infections about 90% of the time.
What Happens During A Crp Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This process usually takes less than five minutes.
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To Diagnose And Monitor Inflammation
The CRP test can be used to check for inflammation in your body. It is requested when your doctor suspects that you might have an inflammatory disorder. It does not show what is causing the inflammation or where the inflammation is located. It is requested for:
- diagnosis to check whether you have an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or other autoimmune disorders
- monitoring if you have already been diagnosed with an inflammatory disorder, to monitor the disease and see how well your treatment is working. If your treatment is working well, and the inflammation lessens, the level of CRP in your blood will drop.
Genetic Testing And Screening
This involves extracting a sample of DNA from your blood, then searching the sample for a specific genetic change .
Genetic conditions that can be diagnosed this way include:
- haemophilia a condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot
- cystic fibrosis a condition that causes a build-up of sticky mucus in the lungs
- spinal muscular atrophy a condition involving muscle weakness and progressive loss of movement
- sickle cell anaemia a condition that causes a shortage of normal red blood cells
- polycystic kidney disease a condition that causes fluid-filled sacs called cysts to develop in the kidneys
Genetic screening can also be used to check if someone carries a particular gene that increases their risk of developing a genetic condition.
For example, if your brother or sister developed a genetic condition in later life, such as Huntington’s disease, you may want to find out whether there is a risk that you could also develop the condition.
Read more about genetic testing.
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Is There A Link Between C
The elevation of CRP has also been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Atherosclerosis, or cholesterol plaquing of the arteries, is known to have an inflammatory component that is thought to cause the rise in CRP levels in the blood. Atherosclerosis is also felt to be affected by age and other cardiovascular risk factors including diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cigarettesmoking.
In atherosclerosis, the blood vessel wall becomes injured. This injury acts as a focus of inflammation and leads to the formation of plaques in the blood vessel walls. The plaques typically contain blood cells of inflammation, cholesterol deposits, and debris from the injured cells in the blood vessel lining. The accumulation of these elements leads to the narrowing of the wall of the blood vessel. The blood vessel narrowing can hinder the blood flow and the plaque can rupture and flake off the blood vessel wall causing blockage and leading to strokes and heart attacks.
The burden of plaques in the body can be proportional to the degree of CRP elevation in persons with atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaques can exist in different stages throughout the body.
What Does The Test Result Mean
The level of CRP in the blood is normally low.
Increased CRP level:
- A high or increasing amount of CRP in the blood suggests the presence of inflammation but will not identify its location or the cause.
- Suspected bacterial infectiona high CRP level can provide confirmation that you have a serious bacterial infection.
- Chronic inflammatory diseasehigh levels of CRP suggest a flare-up if you have a chronic inflammatory disease or that treatment has not been effective.
If the CRP level is initially elevated and drops, it means that the inflammation or infection is subsiding and/or responding to treatment.
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How To Get Tested
C-reactive protein testing is typically performed only after being prescribed by a doctor or other health professional.
After your doctor orders a CRP test, the blood sample can be drawn at a hospital or clinic laboratory or, if you are hospitalized, at your bedside. In some cases, the sample might be collected at your doctors office. The measurement of CRP takes place in a laboratory.
What Do The Results Mean
If your results show a high level of CRP, it probably means you have some type of inflammation in your body. A CRP test doesn’t explain the cause or location of the inflammation. So if your results are not normal, your health care provider may order more tests to figure out why you have inflammation.
A higher than normal CRP level does not necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. There are other factors that can raise your CRP levels. These include cigarette smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise.
If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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What Is A C
A c-reactive protein test measures the level of c-reactive protein in your blood. CRP is a protein made by your liver. It’s sent into your bloodstream in response to inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting your tissues if you’ve been injured or have an infection. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the injured or affected area. Some autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases can also cause inflammation.
Normally, you have low levels of c-reactive protein in your blood. High levels may be sign of a serious infection or other disorder.
Other names: c-reactive protein, serum