The Cardio IQ™ hs-CRP test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.
Brief Description: The High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) test measures the levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, in the blood. It is a more sensitive version of the standard C-reactive protein test. The hsCRP test helps assess the presence of low-grade inflammation in the body, which can be associated with various conditions, including cardiovascular diseases.
Also Known As: hsCRP Test, Cardiac CRP Test, high sensitivity C-reactive protein Test, CRP Test for heart disease.
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
This is a Cardio IQ™ test and will likely need an additional 5-7 days for processing compared to the standard version of the test, hs-CRP #10124.
When is a hs-CRP test ordered?
A High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test may be ordered in several situations to evaluate inflammation levels:
Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk: The hsCRP test is commonly used to assess cardiovascular risk, especially in individuals without obvious symptoms but with other risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, or a family history of heart disease.
Evaluation of Inflammatory Conditions: The hsCRP test may be ordered to evaluate the presence and severity of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Monitoring Response to Treatment: In individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions or cardiovascular diseases, the hsCRP test helps monitor the effectiveness of treatment interventions and assess disease activity over time.
What does a hs-CRP blood test check for?
C-reactive protein is a protein found in the blood that rises in response to infection and inflammation, as well as after trauma, surgery, or a heart attack. As a result, it's one of numerous proteins referred to as acute phase reactants. The high-sensitivity CRP test detects low levels of inflammation in the blood, which are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
According to the American Heart Association, CVD kills more people in the United States each year than any other cause. A number of risk factors have been related to the development of CVD, including family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or diabetic, however a considerable number of people with few or no recognized risk factors will also acquire CVD. This has prompted researchers to investigate for new risk variables that could be causing CVD or could be used to identify lifestyle modifications and/or treatments that could lower a person's risk.
High-sensitivity CRP is one of an increasing number of cardiac risk markers that may be used to assess an individual's risk. According to certain research, monitoring CRP with a highly sensitive assay can assist identify the risk level for CVD in persons who appear to be healthy. CRP levels at the higher end of the reference range can be measured with this more sensitive test. Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, these normal but slightly elevated levels of CRP in otherwise healthy persons might indicate the future risk of a heart attack, sudden cardiac death, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
Lab tests often ordered with a hs-CRP test:
When a Cardio IQ hs-CRP test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of cardiovascular health and risk assessment. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:
- Purpose: Measures levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, including total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides.
- Why Is It Ordered: To assess cardiovascular risk factors. Elevated LDL and low HDL can increase the risk of heart disease.
Fasting Blood Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c):
- Purpose: To assess blood sugar levels and risk for diabetes.
- Why Is It Ordered: Diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Lipoprotein (a) Test:
- Purpose: To measure levels of Lipoprotein (a), a type of lipoprotein associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Why Is It Ordered: To provide additional information about cardiovascular risk, particularly in individuals with a family history of heart disease.
- Purpose: Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate another potential marker of cardiovascular risk, especially in individuals with a family history or other risk factors.
Thyroid Function Test:
- Purpose: To assess thyroid function.
- Why Is It Ordered: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can affect cardiovascular health.
Liver Function Test:
- Purpose: To assess liver health.
- Why Is It Ordered: Liver diseases can influence lipid metabolism and cardiovascular risk.
These tests, when ordered alongside a Cardio IQ hs-CRP test, provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s cardiovascular risk profile. They are important for developing a targeted approach to reduce the risk of heart disease, including lifestyle modification and, if necessary, medical intervention. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual's overall health, family history, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Conditions where a hs-CRP test is recommended:
A High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test is commonly ordered for:
Cardiovascular Diseases: The hsCRP test helps assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Inflammatory Conditions: Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease may require hsCRP testing to evaluate the severity of inflammation and monitor disease activity.
Infections: In certain cases, infections can trigger an inflammatory response, leading to elevated hsCRP levels.
How does my healthcare provider use a hs-CRP test?
Healthcare providers use the results of a High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test to:
Assess Cardiovascular Risk: Elevated hsCRP levels indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Healthcare providers use this information to guide preventive measures, lifestyle modifications, or medical interventions to reduce the risk.
Monitor Inflammatory Conditions: In individuals with inflammatory conditions, the hsCRP test helps assess disease activity, guide treatment decisions, and monitor response to therapy.
Evaluate Response to Treatment: The hsCRP test helps healthcare providers monitor the effectiveness of treatment interventions aimed at reducing inflammation, such as medications or lifestyle changes.
By effectively utilizing the results of a High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test, healthcare providers can assess cardiovascular risk, evaluate inflammation levels, monitor inflammatory conditions, guide treatment decisions, and make informed decisions regarding patient care and interventions related to inflammation management.
What does my hs-CRP test result mean?
Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, high levels of hs-CRP in otherwise healthy people have been found to predict an elevated risk of future heart attacks, strokes, sudden cardiac death, and/or peripheral arterial disease.
Higher hs-CRP concentrations indicate a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, while lower values indicate a lower risk. Individuals with hs-CRP values at the high end of the normal range are 1.5 to 4 times more likely than those with low levels of hs-CRP to have a heart attack.
Most Common Questions About the HS-CRP test:
Basic Understanding of the Test
What is the hs-CRP test?
The hs-CRP test, or high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test, is a blood test used to assess the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body. CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation.
Why is the hs-CRP test important?
The hs-CRP test is important because it can help evaluate the risk of future coronary heart disease. It's used to identify low-level inflammation, which is linked to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries.
What do high levels of hs-CRP in the test results indicate?
Elevated levels of hs-CRP can indicate inflammation in the body and are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It could also indicate an infection or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
What do low levels of hs-CRP in the test results mean?
Low levels of hs-CRP are typically a good sign, indicating a low level of inflammation in the body and a lower risk of heart disease.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Who is at risk of abnormal hs-CRP test results?
Individuals at risk of abnormal hs-CRP results include those with a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smokers, and those who are overweight or obese. Also, individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions may have higher levels of hs-CRP.
Can the hs-CRP test results be influenced by lifestyle factors?
Yes, lifestyle factors can significantly impact hs-CRP levels. Poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity can all contribute to inflammation and thus raise hs-CRP levels.
How can I maintain a low hs-CRP level to ensure normal test results?
Regular physical activity, a healthy diet low in sugar and saturated fats, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can help keep inflammation and thus hs-CRP levels low.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Can the hs-CRP test diagnose specific diseases?
While the hs-CRP test isn't diagnostic for a specific disease, it can indicate a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and can provide insight into inflammation that might be associated with conditions such as arthritis or vasculitis.
If my hs-CRP test results are high, what will the next steps be?
If your hs-CRP test results are high, your doctor may suggest further testing to pinpoint the cause of the inflammation. They may also recommend lifestyle modifications or medication to lower the risk of heart disease.
Can treatment for inflammation or heart disease lower my hs-CRP levels?
Yes, successful treatment for inflammation or heart disease can lower your hs-CRP levels. This may involve medication, such as statins for heart disease, and lifestyle changes like improving diet, increasing physical activity, and stopping smoking.
What factors can affect the results of the hs-CRP test?
Certain factors can affect hs-CRP levels, including infections, chronic inflammatory diseases, and lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress levels.
Are there alternatives to the hs-CRP test for assessing heart disease risk?
Yes, other tests like lipid profile, blood pressure measurement, glucose tests, and imaging tests like coronary calcium scans can also assessheart disease risk. Your doctor will decide which tests are most suitable for you based on your individual circumstances.
Test Limitations and Considerations
Does the hs-CRP test indicate where inflammation is located in the body?
No, the hs-CRP test does not provide specific information about where inflammation is located. It measures general inflammation in the body and is not specific to any one area or condition.
Can I have a high hs-CRP level and still be healthy?
Yes, it's possible to have a high hs-CRP level and still be healthy. Elevated hs-CRP can occur with infections or other short-term diseases. Also, some people naturally have higher hs-CRP levels. However, a persistently high level can indicate chronic inflammation and increase your risk of heart disease.
Can the hs-CRP test replace other tests for heart disease?
No, the hs-CRP test does not replace other heart disease tests. It is typically used in combination with other tests and risk factors to determine an individual's overall risk of heart disease.
How is the hs-CRP test different from the standard CRP test?
The hs-CRP test is more sensitive than the standard CRP test and can detect lower levels of inflammation. This makes it more useful for determining the risk of heart disease.
Is the hs-CRP test used for monitoring disease activity in inflammatory conditions?
While the hs-CRP test can indicate inflammation, it's usually not the preferred choice for monitoring inflammatory conditions, as it lacks specificity. Specific markers for those conditions or the standard CRP test might be used instead.
How often should I have the hs-CRP test?
The frequency of the hs-CRP test depends on your individual health circumstances. If you have known risk factors for heart disease, your doctor may recommend regular testing. However, for the general population, routine testing isn't typically recommended.
Can stress impact the hs-CRP test results?
Yes, prolonged psychological stress can lead to an inflammatory response in the body, which could be reflected in higher hs-CRP levels.
If my hs-CRP test results are normal, does that mean I'm not at risk for heart disease?
A normal hs-CRP result means that your risk of developing heart disease due to inflammation is lower, but it doesn't eliminate the risk completely. There are many factors that contribute to heart disease, including genetics, lifestyle, and other health conditions.
How should I interpret my hs-CRP test result?
Interpreting your hs-CRP result should be done in context with your overall health and other risk factors for heart disease. It's best to discuss your results with your healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding.
Can pregnancy affect hs-CRP levels?
Yes, pregnancy can cause elevated hs-CRP levels, as it involves certain physiological changes that can result in a mild inflammatory response.
Does age influence hs-CRP levels?
Yes, research suggests that hs-CRP levels can increase with age, possibly due to an increased prevalence of low-grade inflammation in older adults.
Is there a difference in hs-CRP levels between men and women?
Some studies suggest that hs-CRP levels may be slightly higher in women compared to men, but the implications of this difference are still under investigation.
Can weight loss improve my hs-CRP test results?
Yes, weight loss, especially when achieved through a combination of diet and exercise, can decrease inflammation in the body and therefore potentially lower your hs-CRP levels.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.