– What is CRP?
– Measuring CRP levels
– Importance of CRP monitoring
In the land of blood tests with barbaric acronyms, here is the CRP. The CRP for C-reactive protein is one of the most frequently prescribed blood tests because the measurement of this protein reveals the existence of inflammation and gives clues to the investigations to be carried out to eradicate it.
What exactly is its role, and how is it measured? Answers in our article.
What is CRP?
It was isolated and identified in the 1930s as a marker of inflammation in the body.
Your doctor may order this test if he or she thinks you have an inflammatory condition such as
– certain arthritic conditions: rheumatoid arthritis;
– an autoimmune disease: lupus;
– certain inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract: Crohn’s disease, celiac disease;
– or to detect a possible infection, for example, in the postoperative period.
Once released into the bloodstream, CRP will participate in the immune response by activating white blood cells (leukocytes) in the body and, thus, sometimes contributing to the destruction of intruding cells.
CRP blood levels increase within hours of the onset of infection or inflammation and often precede pain, fever, or other clinical signs.
Good to know: The other test prescribed to detect inflammation routinely is the sedimentation rate measurement. Together with the CRP measurement, these two tests give a good indication of the inflammatory state of an organism.
Measurement of CRP level
CRP measurement is frequently requested, especially to monitor the evolution of patients with chronic inflammatory diseases (“relapsing” diseases).
Normal CRP levels are below 6 mg/L of blood.
Good to know: CRP is also found in adipose tissue and can sometimes increase in the case of obesity and thus become a risk factor for the onset of cardiovascular diseases or the development of type II diabetes.
Importance of CRP monitoring
Abnormally high CRP levels can indicate several underlying pathologies, such as:
– Bacterial infections (peditric and post-surgical);
– chronic viral infections (HIV, hepatitis B, and C);
– certain cancers or leukemias (especially lung cancer);
– systemic or renal pathologies (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, vasculitis, Horton’s disease, Wegener’s disease, lupus erythematosus);
– inflammatory digestive diseases (Crohn’s disease);
– certain traumas (post-surgery).
The concentration of CRP can increase excessively in the event of inflammation, then drop relatively quickly once the inflammation stops.
The measurement of this protein makes it a parameter of choice for monitoring the effectiveness of treatments.
The CRP ultra-sensitive assay measures deficient levels of blood CRP and is currently used in clinical research. This test could be prescribed for people in apparent good health to determine their risk of developing cardiovascular complications (heart attack, stroke, etc.).
For more information on the subject:
- All the ways to diagnose leukemia;
- Symptoms and treatments of rheumatoid arthritis.
- CRP measurement can help diagnose lupus.
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