The C-reactive Protein Test
C-reactive proteins (or CRPs) are made in the liver and used by the body as a response to inflammation. For example, if you become cut or infected, the redness and swelling at the injury site is caused by a flood of C-reactive protein in your blood.
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What Is A C-reactive Protein Test Test?
This protein is not normally present in large amounts and so when it is it can signal an infection or chronic issue if your levels test above average. A C-reactive protein blood test determines how much C-reactive protein is circulating in a patient’s blood to test for specific conditions, such as infections and autoimmune disorders.
Why Would My Doctor Order This Test?
CRP tests help doctors determine whether a patient has a healthy immune response. Too much inflammation indicated by elevated levels of C-reactive protein can indicate an autoimmune disorder or other inflammatory conditions.
A doctor may order a CRP test if they suspect a patient has:
- Sepsis or other bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or lupus
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- A risk for heart disease or a history of heart attacks
Additionally, patients already diagnosed with widespread infections may require C-reactive protein tests to monitor their condition. Lower levels of the protein indicate lower levels of widespread inflammation, which can tell your doctor how well your body is responding to your treatment.
What Do The Test Results Mean?
A high level of C-reactive protein means that your body’s inflammation process is not regulating properly. Abnormal levels of inflammation can be the result of a chronic condition, but other factors such obesity, smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle may also cause this.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about the results of your test and what you should do next.
How Can I Prepare For The Test?
A C-reactive protein test may require certain preparations. These include avoiding strenuous exercise before the test, since exercise naturally increases CRPs. Related tests like an hs-CRP test (or high-sensitivity CRP test), which assesses a patient’s risk for heart disease, are often done at the same time as a normal C-reactive protein test. They may have their own restrictions, such as not eating or drinking for a certain time beforehand.
The test itself is just like a blood test. A healthcare professional will insert a small needle, draw blood into a vial, and bandage the area. You will likely feel the needle going in and out, like a sharp pinch, but the test takes only a few minutes.
When Should I Get A The C-reactive Protein Test
Symptoms of a widespread bacterial infection are often the first signs of needing a C-reactive protein blood test. These include:
What Else Do I Need To Know?
*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.