09 Jan What is Included in an Inflammation CRP Blood Test?
As we all do our best to try and stay healthy, one of the things that slow many of us down is inflammation. Inflammation in our bodies can cause pain, limit mobility, and diminish our quality of life. A wide range of illnesses, diseases, and other conditions can cause inflammation in our bodies. Without the proper testing, it can be tough to know the cause of inflammation in the first place.
In this post, we will discuss what a inflammation blood test is, what inflammatory markers are, some of the causes and symptoms of inflammation, and how to know when to get tested so that you can get treatment and get your quality of life back.
Understanding C-reactive protein tests
A C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test is the most reliable way to check for inflammation in the body. The C-reactive protein is a protein that is created by the liver. Most of the time, the protein levels are low, which indicates little to no inflammation in the body. As inflammation increases, the liver releases more of this protein.
C-reactive protein tests do not diagnose the cause of inflammation but are the first step in telling your doctor that further diagnostics are necessary. Your doctor will use the CRP lab test to schedule other diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the inflammation.
How does a CRP test work?
CRP blood work is fairly standard in terms of how it is administered. A small amount of blood is taken and placed into a vial or safe testing kit. The blood is then sent to a lab to be analyzed. The test can be performed at home or in a clinical setting. The test results measure the amount of CRP protein within the blood.
The results are measured in mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter), the standard unit of measurement for measuring the amount of a substance in the blood. A range of 0.3 mg/dl to 1.0 mg/dl is considered mildly elevated, with levels below 0.3 being considered in the normal range.
Mild elevation can signify minor infections such as the common cold virus, but many people experience a mild elevation in their CRP without any notable cause. In these cases, your doctor will likely want to monitor your CRP level to see that it does not increase further.
When CRP increases to between 1.0 mg/dl and 10 mg/dl, this is considered a moderate elevation and is often a sign of acute bacterial or viral infection. It can also signify chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and may indicate heart disease. Above 10 mg/dl CRP is often a cause for concern as it signals an underlying inflammatory issue that needs to be treated.
An extreme elevation of CRP occurs when it reaches 50 mg/dl or higher. When this happens, inflammation is severe, a sign of a severe bacterial infection causing a widespread bodily inflammatory response.
Please note that medications that affect inflammation, such as NSAIDs, some prescriptions, and existing health conditions can all alter the results of a test.
What treatments are available if my CRP levels are high?
Prolonged inflammation can cause damage to the tissues and joints throughout the body, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The exact treatment your doctor may prescribe for your inflammation will depend on the underlying cause of your CRP level.
Some of the most common causes of elevated CRP levels include:
- Arthritic conditions like RA
- Bacterial infections and viruses
- Colds and flu
- Gut and bowel diseases
- Autoimmune disorders
While the CRP test can help determine if you have an inflammatory problem, it cannot diagnose the specific issue. Your doctor will most likely use the CRP test as a guideline to schedule further testing to find the underlying cause of the inflammation. Once the cause of the inflammation is known, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
Some inflammation is normal. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can signify a more serious health issue. If you experience unusual symptoms, a CRP test can help tell you if you have mild, moderate, or severe inflammation. As always, talk with your doctor about your results and how to move forward to determine the cause of your inflammation, as well as how to get treatment.
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