What Is C Reactive Protein Test

Why Crp Test Is Done

C Reactive Protein Test What does it mean?

C-reactive protein test is performed to determine if a person has a problem linked to acute infection or inflammation.

The CRP test is not diagnostic of any condition, but it can be used together with signs and symptoms and other tests to evaluate an individual for an acute or chronic inflammatory condition. These include:

  • To determine if there is infection after surgery: CRP levels normally increase within two to six hours following surgery but then return to normal by the third day if CRP levels are elevated three days after surgery it means there is an infection.
  • To keep track of an infection or disease that can cause inflammation: Inflammatory bowel disease , lymphoma , immune system diseases such as lupus , rheumatoid arthritis and osteomyelitis are some conditions in which inflammation can be monitored with a CRP test.
  • To monitor treatment of a disease such as cancer or infection: Not only do CRP levels go up quickly if you have an infection but they also return to normal quickly if you are responding to the treatment.

You Can Do Something About High Levels

Imagine your doctor telling you that a newfangled test of inflammation shows that you have a worrisome level of a telltale protein, but, um, there isn’t much you-or she-can do about it. That wouldn’t be a popular or helpful test, even if it were a perfect prognosticator of heart attacks.

A big reason behind the growing enthusiasm for C-reactive protein tests is that levels can be lowered. The statin drugs made their name by lowering LDL research has shown that they also lower C-reactive protein levels. Exercise is a great way to bring down your CRP level losing weight also seems to work.

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

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Clinical Study Of Crp

In preparation for this article, I reviewed the CRP results for the last 115 patients referred to my clinic. All these patients had severe, intractable pain all were already taking opioid medications, but their pain was poorly controlled. A total of 32 patients had elevated CRP levels. Twenty-five of these 32 patients had their CRP levels return to normal with enhanced opioid therapy, while 7 patients continued to show an elevated CRP test. While a minority of patients had an elevated CRP, 27.8% is a significant percentage. Patients who were tested were already receiving pain treatment with opioids and other pharmaceutical agents, so the treatment at the time of testing undoubtedly had a positive effect on lowering the CRP. It is also possible and likely that some patients had a high CRP due to severe neuroinflammation. Two case reports illustrate how I interpreted the results.

Normal Values For Esr And Crp

CRP Blood Test

Normal results from an ESR test may show a range of range 0 to 22 mm/hr for men and 0 to 29 mm/hr for women. The upper threshold for a normal rate value may vary among testing practices.

A person’s CRP values may vary over time. Normal results from a CRP test may show a common range of 1 mg/L to 3mg/L but are not considered high until reaching over 10 mg/L, according to the Mayo Clinic. Results for an hs-CRP test may vary from a level less than 2.0 mg/L to a level equal or greater than 2 mg/L .

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How To Treat And Prevent Elevated Levels

C-reactive protein treatment depends on what the underlying cause of the inflammation is. The best way to naturally treat high levels is to uncover the root cause of someones inflammatory response and then make lifestyle or medication recommendations based on that finding.

The same types of healthy habits that help protect against heart disease, such as eating a balanced diet, not smoking and exercising, are also usually involved in treatment for high CRP levels are.

1. Eat An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

In order to protect against the effects of inflammation on your heart and elsewhere, its recommended that you eat a whole-foods diet such as the Mediterranean diet. This type of nutrient-dense diet includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs, fish, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

Eating foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, A and E, plusprobiotic foods can help to support your immune system. One study found that high intake of vitamin C helped to reduce CRP levels in people with levels greater than 1 mg/L.

Its also important to address any food allergies you may be suffering from, as well as to avoid foods that trigger flair-ups if you have inflammatory bowel disease. These foods can include: gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and others depending on the person.

2. Get Regular Exercise

3. Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medication Use

If an infection is the root cause of your elevated CRP, then antibiotics may be needed to help you recover.

C Reactive Protein Treatment

The conventional C Reactive protein treatment involve prescribing the same medications that is used for lowering LDL cholesterol to reduce C reactive protein. In addition to that a healthy diet is recommended, in fact Mediterranean diet has been found effective in helping lower C reactive protein levels. Besides making dietary changes, an individual also needs to quit alcohol, smoking and exercise regularly to maintain optimum levels of C reactive protein in the body.

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What Diseases Does The Crp Test Help Rule Out

CRP tests dont automatically rule out any diseases, but they can lead rheumatologists in the right direction. A low CRP result would suggest that the symptoms probably dont come from an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis, says Dr. Kaplan, but doctors would need to check other factors for confirmation. You have to look at the whole picture you cant diagnose based on just one particular test, says Dr. Kaplan.

When Should I Have A C

C-Reactive Protein: Testing for Heart Disease

CRP testing is done primarily to detect or monitor health conditions that are associated with inflammation. For example, a CRP test may be recommended if you have signs and symptoms of:

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Minor inflammation associated with a range of issues such as smoking, diabetes, and physical trauma

There are not strict guidelines for when CRP testing is prescribed, so it is important to consult with your health care provider to determine if a CRP test is appropriate in your situation.

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What Diseases Does The Crp Test Help Diagnose

With autoimmune disease, the body is treating healthy cells like invaders. That reaction causes inflammation, so high CRP levels tick one box for an autoimmune diagnosis. But thats just the tip of the iceberg. The CRP will go up pretty much from any inflammation, which can be from infection or an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis, or even atherosclerosis, says Dr. Kaplan.

Doctors often use a version called a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test to examine heart disease risk in fact, a study of more than 15,000 women found that hs-CRP was a better predictor of stroke than bad LDL cholesterol was.

C Reactive Protein Causes

The primary c reactive protein cause is the inflammation in the body. With inflammation in the body the CRP levels in the blood stream rises. This inflammation could be due to infection or trauma affecting the immune system, medical causes, lifestyle habits and genetics. The other causes of elevated CRP and other markers of inflammation are the following conditions

  • Burns
  • Inflammatory disease

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What Is C Reactive Protein

C Reactive Protein is a substance produced by the liver. It is classified as an acute phase reactant, which means that CRP levels increases with inflammation in the body. A high level of CRP is used as a non specific marker signalling to inflammation in the body, inflammation of the arteries along with other health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and vasculitis. Although low levels of C reactive protein are considered good for the body, chronically low level of CRP can result in several age related diseases like heart disease, some forms of cancer and neurodegenerative

There is no specific symptom of C Reactive protein that manifests themselves explicitly that can be said to be a C Reactive protein symptom.

Why Would I Need This Test

Measuring Your C Reactive Protein Levels

You might need this test if your doctor suspects that you have an infection or an illness related to inflammation or to check for infection, especially after surgery. CRP can help confirm a diagnosis and assess how well treatment is going for these kinds of illnesses.

Sometimes CRP is tested if a pregnant woman has ruptured her membranes early. CRP can indicate if there are any problems with the baby.

A special type of CRP called a high-sensitivity CRP can help determine the risk for heart disease.

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How Sensitive And Specific Is The Crp Test

The CRP test is not very specific, which means it isnt unique to one disease. Sure, high levels could be a signal of autoimmune disease, but CRP levels could also be elevated because of infection, heart disease, or other health issues. A potential benefit of CRP over the sedimentation rate test, a similar test of inflammation, is that its not quite as fickle, says Dr. Kaplan. CRP is more sensitive, which means that a patient with autoimmune disease is more likely to test positive.

C Reactive Protein Test Results Interpretation

If C Reactive protein test shows CRP levels at less than 1 mg/L it indicates to low risk of cardiovascular diseases.

If the C Reactive protein test results show a range between 1 and 2.9 mg/L it refers to an intermediate risk to cardiovascular disease.

If C Reactive protein test results show a reading higher than 3 mg/L, it means the person is at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

A CRP test reading of more than 10mg/L indicates to some serious infection or chronic disease and further testing is required to get to the root cause of such high inflammation levels. Such high CRP levels can be indicative of the following diseases

  • Bone infection or osteomyelitis
  • Auto immune arthritis flare up
  • IBD
  • Pneumonia

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What Does An Elevated C

Elevation of C-reactive protein indicates acute phase response or active disease in chronic inflammatory disorders. CRP is a more sensitive early indicator of an acute phase response than the ESR . C-reactive protein also returns towards normal more rapidly with improvement or resolution of the disease process.

C-reactive protein elevations are nonspecific and may be useful for the detection of systemic inflammatory processes to assess treatment of bacterial infections with antibiotics to detect intrauterine infections with concomitant premature rupture of membranes to differentiate between active and inactive forms of disease with concurrent infection, e.g., in patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus or ulcerative colitis to therapeutically monitor rheumatic disease and assess anti-inflammatory therapy to determine the presence of postoperative complications at an early stage, such as infected wounds, thrombosis, and pneumonia and to distinguish between infection and bone marrow rejection. Postoperative monitoring of CRP levels of patients can aid in the recognition of unexpected complications .

However, the C-reactive protein test is less sensitive than the ESR for some disorders, for example, ulcerative colitis and SLE .

Elevated of C-reactive protein test result means you have inflammation in the body. This may be due to a variety of conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Tuberculosis

This list is not all inclusive.

How Do Doctors Use The Crp Test To Monitor Your Disease

C reactive protein

As rheumatologists follow a patients progress through treatment, inflammation levels can tell them how active the disease is. The CRP gives you something to follow to see if the inflammation is high, says Dr. Kaplan. During flare-ups, CRP will be higher, so its a good gauge of whether your current treatment regimen is effective.

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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.

What Else Do I Need To Know Before I Appear For A C

The CRP test is simple in nature and the following points will assist in getting to know the test and associated results better. A high level of CRP does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from a cardiac ailment. For any patient who is pregnant or has any other chronic infection or inflammatory disease, the CRP test alone is not sufficient to assess the risk of heart disease. The CRP level is termed as a biomarker and is not a precise indicator of any health problem. In case you have higher levels of the protein, the doctor may suggest lifestyle and dietary changes as a part of the treatment plan.Routine follow-up with the doctor is often necessary if any high-risk ailments like heart disease, diabetes, and others are established.

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What Is The Treatment For High C

Any therapy to lower CRP levels focuses on lowering cardiovascular risk factors. Regular exercise, appropriate diet, and smoking cessation are in the forefront of cardiovascular risk prevention and reduction.

  • Cholesterol-lowering medications have been linked to lowering of CRP levels in individuals with high cholesterol. The fall of CRP levels may occur even without significant improvement in cholesterol levels.
  • The use of aspirin in healthy individuals was not shown to reduce CRP levels significantly. However, in patients with cardiovascular disease and elevated CRP, the reduction of cardiovascular risk and CRP levels was noted after aspirin use.
  • Some oral diabetes medicines, thiazolidinediones , were noted to reduce CRP levels in patients with or without type 2 diabetes. This effect was independent of their glucose-lowering effects.
  • Routine follow-up with a doctor is recommended for the proper management of conditions that are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Inflammation And Blood Proteins: When To Order Blood Tests

Measuring Your C Reactive Protein Levels

It is recommended that all patients who have severe enough chronic pain to require daily pain control medication antidepressants, neuropathic agents, anti-inflammatory agents, or opioidsbe screened for ESR and CRP. The reason is that a high percentage of chronic pain patients will show elevations, and this finding can, over-time, be a good indicator of treatment success. Once high levels of ESR or CRP are detected, these tests should be repeated every 1 to 3 months to help determine whether the pain regimen is eliminating inflammation.

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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.

A Protein Test To Help Patients Understand Their Heart Disease Risk

C-reactive protein increases in the blood with inflammation or infection. A high level of CRP is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and heart disease. A high sensitivity C-reactive protein test measures the levels of CRP in the blood and, along with cholesterol testing, is one more way to optimize our understanding of your heart risk.

The hs-CRP test is most useful for patients who have a 5 to 10 percent chance of having a heart attack within the next 10 years, based on lifestyle choices, family history, and current health status. Checking your CRP involves a simple blood test. If youre getting your cholesterol tested, we can use the same tube of blood. Your CRP level puts you in one of three categories:

  • Low risk: less than 1 mg/L

  • Average risk: 1 to 3 mg/L

  • High risk: greater than 3 mg/L

Your doctor can talk to you about steps to take to reduce your CRP level, such as taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or statins, eating a heart-healthy diet, managing your weight, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly.

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What Does The Test Measure

A C-reactive protein test measures the amount of CRP in your blood. CRP levels can reflect the presence and severity of inflammation in your body.

CRP is a protein produced by the liver. When bacteria or other cellular invaders threaten the body, the liver releases CRP into the bloodstream to help organize the bodys defenses. This early response is called an acute phase response. It is also referred to as inflammation or an inflammatory response. The acute phase response also can occur in chronic conditions, including some autoimmune diseases.

As an early responder, CRP is technically known as a positive acute phase reactant. Its level, measured from a blood sample, gives your doctor information about the presence of inflammation and how serious it is. However, CRP levels do not tell the doctor where in your body the inflammation is located or what is causing it.

High-sensitivity CRP testing is a different form of testing that identifies very low concentrations of CRP. Although both tests measure CRP, hs-CRP is considered a separate test with distinct uses.

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