C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Most Popular

The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test measures the levels of C-reactive protein, a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation in the body. It is a non-specific marker of inflammation and is used to evaluate the presence and intensity of inflammation. The CRP test helps healthcare providers assess the severity of an inflammatory condition and monitor response to treatment.

Also Known As: CRP Test, Inflammation test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a C-Reactive Protein test ordered?

A C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test may be ordered in several situations to assess a patient's inflammation levels:

  1. Infection or Inflammatory Diseases: The test is ordered when a patient shows signs of infection or has symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease.

  2. Monitoring Response to Treatment: For patients with known inflammatory conditions, the CRP test helps healthcare providers monitor the effectiveness of treatment and track changes in inflammation levels over time.

  3. Cardiovascular Risk Assessment: The CRP test may be ordered as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment to identify individuals at higher risk of developing heart disease or to assess the severity of existing cardiovascular conditions.

  4. Post-Surgery Monitoring: After surgical procedures, the CRP test can be ordered to monitor post-operative inflammation levels and identify any complications or infections.

What does a C-Reactive Protein blood test check for?

C-reactive protein is a protein produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream within a few hours following tissue injury, infection, or other inflammatory event. After trauma or a heart attack, with active or uncontrolled autoimmune illnesses, and with acute bacterial infections like sepsis, markedly higher levels are reported. CRP levels can rise by a thousand-fold in response to inflammatory diseases, and their elevation in the blood can occur before pain, fever, or other clinical signs. The test detects inflammation caused by acute situations or monitors disease activity in chronic diseases by measuring the level of CRP in the blood.

The CRP test is not a diagnostic tool, although it can tell a doctor if inflammation is occurring. This information can be combined with other indicators like signs and symptoms, a physical exam, and other tests to establish whether someone has an acute inflammatory disorder or is having a flare-up of a chronic inflammatory disease. The health care provider may next do additional tests and treatment.

This CRP test should not be confused with the hs-CRP test. These are two separate CRP tests, each of which measures a different range of CRP levels in the blood for different purposes.

Lab tests often ordered with a C-Reactive Protein test:

Depending on the clinical context and the reasons for measuring CRP, various other tests may be ordered to further investigate the cause of inflammation, assess disease severity, or evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside CRP:

  1. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR):

    • Purpose: Measures the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour. It is a nonspecific measure of inflammation.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To confirm the presence of inflammation indicated by a high CRP and to monitor the activity of inflammatory diseases.
  2. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: Provides a comprehensive count of blood cells, including white blood cells (WBCs), which can indicate infection or inflammation.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate overall health and detect a variety of disorders, such as anemia and infection, which might be causing inflammation.
  3. Procalcitonin:

    • Purpose: Levels of this protein can rise dramatically in systemic bacterial infections and sepsis.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To differentiate between bacterial infections and other causes of inflammation, as procalcitonin is typically not elevated in viral infections or inflammatory diseases.
  4. Fibrinogen:

    • Purpose: An acute-phase protein that plays a role in blood clotting, which can increase in the presence of inflammation.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess the level of systemic inflammation and the body's response to it, as well as to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  5. High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP):

    • Purpose: A more sensitive measure of CRP that can be used to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To help predict a healthy person's risk of cardiovascular disease. It is ordered especially if they have other risk factors, or to assess the risk of a second heart attack in someone who has already had one.
  6. Lipid Profile:

    • Purpose: Measures cholesterol and triglycerides to assess cardiovascular risk.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Since inflammation is a risk factor for atherosclerosis, a lipid profile may be checked along with CRP to assess overall cardiovascular risk.
  7. Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (Anti-CCP):

    • Purpose: These are specific markers for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune inflammatory condition.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If RA or another autoimmune condition is suspected, these tests can help in the diagnosis.
  8. Kidney and Liver Function Tests:

    • Purpose: To evaluate whether inflammation is affecting the liver or kidneys.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Because inflammation can impact these organs, and their dysfunction can, in turn, contribute to systemic inflammation.

The combination of these tests can help a healthcare provider determine the cause of an elevated CRP level and provide a clearer picture of a patient's health status. The decision on which tests to order alongside a CRP will depend on the patient's symptoms, medical history, and the diseases or conditions the healthcare provider is considering in their differential diagnosis.

Conditions where a C-Reactive Protein test is recommended:

A C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test is commonly ordered for:

  1. Inflammatory Diseases: The test helps assess the severity of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, vasculitis, or inflammatory bowel disease.

  2. Infections: Elevated CRP levels can indicate the presence of infections, whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, and help healthcare providers identify the site of inflammation.

  3. Cardiovascular Diseases: The CRP test is used as part of cardiovascular risk assessment to identify individuals at higher risk of developing heart disease or to assess the severity of existing cardiovascular conditions.

How does my healthcare provider use a C-Reactive Protein test?

Healthcare providers use the results of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test to:

  1. Assess Inflammation Levels: Elevated CRP levels indicate the presence and intensity of inflammation in the body, helping healthcare providers evaluate the severity of an inflammatory condition.

  2. Monitor Treatment Response: Regular CRP testing allows healthcare providers to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for inflammatory conditions and track changes in inflammation levels over time.

  3. Guide Diagnosis and Further Testing: Elevated CRP levels, combined with other clinical findings, can help healthcare providers diagnose and differentiate between different inflammatory conditions and guide the need for further diagnostic tests or evaluations.

By effectively utilizing the results of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test, healthcare providers can assess inflammation levels, monitor treatment response, and make informed decisions regarding patient care, including treatment adjustments and further investigations if necessary.

What do my C-Reactive Protein test results mean?

CRP levels in the blood are usually low.

CRP levels in the blood that are high or rising indicate the existence of inflammation, but they don't tell you where it is or what's causing it. A high CRP level can establish the presence of a severe bacterial infection in people who are suspected of having one. High levels of CRP in persons with chronic inflammatory disorders indicate a flare-up or that treatment isn't working.

When the CRP level rises and then falls, it indicates that the inflammation or infection is diminishing and/or responding to treatment.

Is there anything else I should know about C-Reactive Protein?

CRP levels can rise during pregnancy, as well as with the use of birth control tablets or hormone replacement therapy. Obese people have also been found to have higher CRP levels.

In the presence of inflammation, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test will also rise; however, CRP rises first and then falls faster than ESR.

Most Common Questions about the C-Reactive Protein test:

Understanding the C-Reactive Protein Test

What is the purpose of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

The CRP test is a blood test that doctors use to detect inflammation in the body. It measures the concentration of a specific protein, C-reactive protein, that the liver produces in response to inflammation. This test is typically used in conjunction with other tests to diagnose and monitor a range of diseases.

What does the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test measure?

The CRP test measures the amount of C-reactive protein in your blood, which increases in response to inflammation or infection.

What does a high C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test result mean?

A high CRP level indicates a high degree of inflammation in the body. It can be caused by various conditions, including infection, autoimmune diseases, cancer, or cardiovascular disease. However, the CRP test is nonspecific, which means it cannot diagnose a specific disease.

What does a low C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test result mean?

A low CRP level generally indicates that there is no significant inflammation in the body. However, even in the absence of disease, low levels of CRP are always present in the body.

Understanding the Medical Implications

Can the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test be used to predict future heart diseases?

Yes, a version of the test known as the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is often used to assess the risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition in which the coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked.

How is a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test different from an Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) test?

Both tests are used to measure inflammation in the body. However, CRP is produced quickly in response to inflammation and therefore can show sudden changes, while ESR is a slower and less specific response. The two tests may be used together to provide more information about a patient's condition.

Can the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test be used to monitor diseases?

Yes, doctors can use CRP tests to monitor certain diseases over time, such as Crohn's disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. The level of CRP often rises with inflammation or disease activity and may fall when inflammation is reduced.

Is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test used in diagnosing COVID-19?

While the CRP test is not used to diagnose COVID-19, elevated CRP levels are often found in patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Therefore, it can be used to monitor the severity and progression of the disease.

How does the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test relate to cancer?

High levels of CRP have been found in people with certain types of cancer. However, because CRP levels can also be elevated due to other conditions, the CRP test is not used on its own to diagnose or monitor cancer.

Understanding the Lifestyle and Medication Implications

How can lifestyle affect C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test results?

Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress, and sleep can influence inflammation levels in the body and thus the CRP test results. For instance, regular exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce inflammation, while stress and lack of sleep can increase it.

Do medications affect the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test results?

Yes, certain medications can affect the CRP test results. For instance, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids can lower CRP levels, while oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy can increase CRP levels. It's important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you're taking.

Can the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test be used to check the effectiveness of treatment?

Yes, the CRP test can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for certain conditions like bacterial infections or inflammatory diseases. A decrease in CRP levels often indicates that the treatment is effective.

Understanding the Specific Conditions

How is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test used in cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, a CRP test can help assess the level of inflammation in the body and monitor the effectiveness of treatment. High levels of CRP in someone with rheumatoid arthritis can indicate active disease.

How is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test used in cases of Lupus?

In lupus, a CRP test can help monitor disease activity and inflammation. However, CRP is not typically the main test used in the diagnosis or monitoring of lupus.

How is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test used in cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

The CRP test can be a useful tool for assessing the level of inflammation in the body in people with inflammatory bowel disease. High levels of CRP can indicate active inflammation and disease flares.

How is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test used in cases of Vasculitis?

In cases of vasculitis, a CRP test can help assess the degree of inflammation in the body and can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

Specific Questions About the Test

Can I eat before a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

Yes, you can eat and drink normally before a CRP test. The test is not typically affected by food or drink, but it's always best to follow your healthcare provider's instructions.

How often should a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test be done?

The frequency of the CRP test depends on the individual and their specific health condition. It might be done more frequently when monitoring certain chronic inflammatory conditions or during active disease periods.

Are there different types of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) tests?

Yes, there are two main types of CRP tests: a standard CRP test and a high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) test. The standard test is used to detect high levels of inflammation, while the hs-CRP test can detect lower levels of inflammation and is used to assess heart disease risk.

Can other conditions affect the results of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

Yes, conditions such as obesity, pregnancy, and the use of certain medications can affect CRP levels. That's why it's important to discuss any other health conditions you have with your healthcare provider.

How should I interpret my C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test results?

Interpretation of CRP test results should be done in the context of your overall health, symptoms, and other test results. It's best to discuss your results with your healthcare provider.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

No special preparation is required for a CRP test.

Are there any risks associated with the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

The risks associated with a CRP test are very low and are the same as those for any standard blood test, which might include slight pain or bruising at the injection site. Serious complications are rare.

Can a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test be done at home?

While most CRP tests are done in a clinical setting, there are home testing kits available for CRP. However, results from home tests should be confirmed and interpreted by a healthcare provider.

Does age or sex affect the results of a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test?

While CRP levels can vary between individuals, there's no definitive evidence to suggest that age or sex significantly affects the results of a CRP test. However, post-menopausal women may have slightly higher CRP levels due to increased inflammation associated with hormonal changes.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Understanding C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Blood Test: Interpreting High CRP Levels

The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test is a valuable diagnostic tool used to assess levels of inflammation in the body. CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation. By measuring CRP levels in the blood, healthcare professionals can identify and monitor inflammatory conditions. In this section, we will explore the significance of the CRP blood test, what high CRP levels indicate, and why it is important for your health. Let's delve into the details.

The Role of CRP Blood Test:

The CRP blood test measures the amount of C-reactive protein present in the bloodstream. CRP is a sensitive marker of inflammation and is often used to evaluate the severity of various conditions, such as infections, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. The test helps healthcare professionals assess the effectiveness of treatments, monitor disease progression, and identify potential risks for future health complications.

Interpreting CRP Blood Test Results:

CRP levels are typically reported as milligrams per liter (mg/L) of blood. Normal CRP levels are generally below 10 mg/L. However, higher levels may indicate the presence of inflammation. It's important to note that CRP levels can vary based on age, gender, and certain medical conditions. Healthcare providers consider various factors, including symptoms, medical history, and other test results, to interpret CRP levels accurately.

Understanding High CRP Levels:

Elevated CRP levels suggest the presence of inflammation in the body. Higher-than-normal CRP values may be an indication of several health conditions, including:

  1. Infections: Bacterial or viral infections can trigger an inflammatory response, leading to increased CRP levels.

  2. Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease can cause chronic inflammation and elevated CRP levels.

  3. Cardiovascular Diseases: Atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, or heart attack can contribute to systemic inflammation and result in high CRP levels.

  4. Tissue Injury: Trauma, surgery, or tissue damage can cause localized inflammation, leading to temporary increases in CRP levels.

Importance of High CRP Levels:

Detecting and monitoring high CRP levels is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Early Detection: Elevated CRP levels can indicate the presence of underlying inflammatory conditions, allowing for early detection and intervention.

  2. Disease Monitoring: Measuring CRP levels over time helps healthcare professionals monitor disease activity, response to treatment, and disease progression.

  3. Risk Assessment: High CRP levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Monitoring CRP levels helps identify individuals who may benefit from preventive measures or lifestyle modifications.

  4. Treatment Evaluation: The CRP blood test enables healthcare providers to assess the effectiveness of treatments by tracking changes in CRP levels over time.

The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test plays a vital role in identifying and monitoring inflammation in the body. Elevated CRP levels indicate the presence of underlying health conditions, such as infections, autoimmune disorders, or cardiovascular diseases. By regularly monitoring CRP levels, healthcare professionals can intervene early, tailor treatment plans, and assess disease progression. If you have concerns about inflammation or high CRP levels, consult with your healthcare provider to discuss appropriate diagnostic measures and develop a comprehensive management plan based on your individual health needs.

 

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: C-Reactive Protein, CReactive Protein CRP, CRP

C-REACTIVE PROTEIN

C-reactive protein is produced by the liver. The level of CRP rises when there is inflammation throughout the body.
*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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