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C-Reactive Protein - What to Know

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C-reactive protein is a kind of protein that increases in the body when there is an active infection. This article is a brief overview of c-reactive protein.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nagaraj

Published At October 31, 2023
Reviewed AtOctober 31, 2023

Introduction

CRP or c-reactive protein gets elevated in the body once there is inflammation in any of the parts of the body. C reactive protein is thus one of the inflammatory responses of the body. C reactive proteins are present in the bloodstream, and thus the level of the same can be detected through a blood profile. In case there is an active infection or an active inflammation but no presence of c-reactive protein in the blood, a test of higher sensitivity, known as hs-CRP or high-sensitivity c-reactive protein, must be conducted. In addition to being sensitive, a high-sensitivity c reactive protein test is used to determine the presence of any kind of cardiovascular disease, especially coronary artery disease. The risk of an episode of a heart attack may also be detected with the help of high sensitivity c reactive protein. A c-reactive protein test is not advised for each and every patient. It should be noted that this particular test does not reveal the cause of inflammation. In addition to a c reactive protein test or a high sensitivity c reactive protein test, an assessment of the patient’s lifestyle, a detailed account of the cardiovascular diseases in the family, and present health status are vital aids for the health care provider in order to determine the further steps to prevent an episode of cardiac arrest.

When Is C Reactive Protein Test Suggested?

A c-reactive protein test is not meant for every patient. A suitable candidate for c reactive protein goes through several other assessments. The health care provider is the one who will finally request a creative protein for chosen candidates. Mentioned below are the conditions to get a c-reactive protein test done.

  • Swelling or inflammation in any part of the body.
  • Ongoing infection.
  • Long-standing untreated infection.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lupus.
  • Cardiovascular assessment.
  • Risk of an incoming heart attack.
  • Evaluating the second episode of myocardial infarction.

What to Expect Before a C Reactive Protein Test?

It should be noted that vigorous activities such as weight lifting, long runs, and aerobic exercises are precursors to an escalation of the levels of c-reactive protein in the human body. Thus, any activity that increases the cardiac output or the physical activeness of the body should be avoided before a c-reactive protein test. At times the healthcare provider may suggest additional blood tests and will instruct the patient to avoid eating or drinking a few hours before the scheduled test. Cholesterol level is one of the most common tests that is performed parallel to a c reactive protein test. Certain drugs and over-the-counter medications are known to raise the levels of c-reactive proteins. Thus, a detailed drug history must be presented to the professional by the patient or the caretaker.

What Do the Results of a C Reactive Protein Test Signify?

A c-reactive protein test may present the result only after a few days of the test and not immediately. CRP or c reactive protein levels are measured in milligrams per liter or mg/L. A high c reactive protein test result signifies the presence of an active infection in the body. Acute infection can be due to a long-standing condition or an injury. The health care provider may suggest additional tests to find out the root cause of the high levels of high sensitivity c reactive protein. The c-reactive protein of an individual may vary over time. Thus, it is necessary to conduct two tests of high-sensitivity c-reactive protein before concluding the presence of any kind of heart disease or finalizing a diagnosis. It should be noted that the value of a high level of c-reactive protein is only one of the several risk factors indicative of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction.

Mentioned below are the standard levels of c-reactive protein.

  • The normal level of c-reactive protein is 10 mg/L.
  • A high level of c-reactive protein is greater than or equal to 10 mg/L.
  • Mentioned below are the standard levels of a high-sensitivity cm reactive protein.
  • In case the reading of high sensitivity c reactive protein is less than 2.0 mg/L, it indicates a reduced risk of a cardiovascular condition.
  • If the levels of high sensitivity c reactive protein are greater than or equal to 2.0 mg/L, it is indicative of a higher risk of the presence of the cardiovascular condition.

What Are the Clinical Symptoms in a Patient for C Reactive Protein Test?

Only some people are suggested to go ahead with a c-reactive protein test. There are multiple factors and underlying conditions that require the presence of c-reactive protein levels.

Mentioned below are a few of the signs and symptoms in a patient that need to undergo a c-reactive protein test for an accurate diagnosis.

  • High-grade fever.
  • Sweat and chills.
  • Breathing at an abnormally rapid rate.
  • Increased rate of heart rhythm.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Conclusion:

C reactive protein or CRP, is a protein that is found in the plasma of the blood and is produced by the liver as one of the systemic responses to swelling or inflammation. An increase in the levels of standard c reactive protein or CRP in the bloodstream may be an indicative marker of the presence or development of an inflammatory response in the body. There are several reasons and causes, ranging from a tiny wound to an invasive disease like cancer, that are known to raise the levels of c-reactive protein in the body. Diseases of the arteries and cardiovascular system, especially the heart and related organs, can be diagnosed with the help of the c-reactive protein test. A high sensitivity c reactive protein test is an alternative to determine an inflammatory change in the circulatory system. Every individual who consults the health care provider is not suggested to go ahead and get a c-reactive protein done. Instead, there are multiple factors that need to be taken under consideration before a patient is asked to go ahead with a c-reactive protein test.

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Dr. Nagaraj
Dr. Nagaraj

Diabetology

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