In today’s hectic world and busy work schedules, people are always on the lookout for possible ways to improve their overall physical and mental well being and to enhance their quality of life. In this article, we will look at what the CRP blood test or the C- Reactive Protein Blood Test is and how it can benefit individuals and patients as a medical test.
C-Reactive Protein or CRP Blood Test: A Brief Overview
A substance excreted by the liver to respond to the body’s inflammation, C-reactive protein is also called by other names such as Ultra-Sensitive C-reactive protein or us-CRP or high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). C-Reactive Protein or CRP is usually brought about by the body’s inflammatory response to various different health conditions or illnesses such as cancer, bodily infections and problems with the inflamed arteries which may subsequently lead to various cardiovascular or heart diseases. It must be considered though that CRP or C-Reactive Protein Test is a very non-specific test that can detect a wide range of different illnesses that cause inflammation or trigger the body’s inflammatory response.
What it means to have C-Reactive Protein or CRP that is higher than normal
Medical professionals and Doctors do not have any clear consensus on what increased or higher levels of C-reactive Protein or CRP mean or indicate. However, there is a general leaning towards the possibility of high or increased levels of C-reactive protein as an indication of the increased possibility or risk of the occurrence of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Evidence suggests that males who are considered healthy but have been found or diagnosed with high levels of C-Reactive Protein or CRP may have an increased risk for needing more intense management and treatment of heart or cardiovascular disease. This means that people with higher CRPs or C-Reactive Protein Levels may need to be more closely monitored and treated by their doctors or health professionals after an incidence of heart attack or stroke or any other medical procedures related to the cardiovascular system. C-reactive protein or CRP levels can also help health professionals determine an individual’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease or heart disease if and when the levels of cholesterol are not enough to determine the aforementioned illnesses.
Certainly, other health conditions are also considered high-risk factors in terms of developing cardiovascular disease or heart diseases such as Hypertension or high blood pressure, smoking, increased levels of cholesterol, poor or unhealthy diet, limited or lack of exercise or physical activity, excessive alcohol intake, obesity or being overweight and genetics or a family history of cardiovascular and heart diseases.
How is the C-reactive protein test conducted?
The C-reactive Protein or CRP test can be conducted without requiring any form of preparation from the patient or the individual. Food intake or the lack thereof does not have any direct effect on the test as well and so eating on the day of the test itself is a non-issue. A medical practitioner such as a nurse will usually retrieve blood from the patient’s vein commonly located on the back of the elbow or the reverse of the patient’s hand.
The first step is that the nurse sterilizes or cleanses the area of the skin where the blood sample will be taken. They then wrap an elastic rubber band around the patient’s arm to make the vein pop, making it easier for the nurse to draw blood from the vein. A small needle is then inserted by the medical professional or nurse into the patient’s vein and collects the amount of blood needed before transferring the said collected blood into sterilized vials for further testing.
Once the nurse or the medical professional removes the inserted needle from the patient’s arm, the nurse then requests the patient to hold onto a cotton swab applying pressure on the area of extraction to avoid blood from clotting around the said area before applying gauze or bandage.
What is the significance of the C-reactive protein or CRP Test?
As stated earlier, a C-reactive protein or CRP test can mean a number of different things in connection with a person’s health or wellness. C-Reactive Protein or CRP is usually evaluated based on CRP mg/L per liter of blood. Lower C-reactive protein or CRP tests are usually preferable than higher ones as low C-reactive protein or CRP results mean less or fewer instances of inflammation.
According to experts, those with C-reactive Protein or CRP levels lower than 1 mg/L means a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Those with C-reactive Protein or CRP levels that range from 1 and 2.9 mg/L indicates that a patient is at intermediate risk while those with C-reactive Protein or CRP levels that are greater than 3 mg/L indicates they have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular or heart diseases.
Those patients who may get a reading that higher than 10 mg/L need to have further tasks conducted on them as they indicate other underlying medical conditions such as infections like pneumonia, lymphoma or cancer, autoimmune diseases, connective tissue disease, lupus, tuberculosis, IBD, arthritis flare-ups, osteomyelitis or other bone infections.
Patients taking some Birth Contol Pills may have elevated C-Reactive Protein Test results and should not be considered abnormal in terms of findings of inflammation. Pregnant women may also experience elevated levels of C-reactive protein and may actually indicate some form of medical issue. However, further tests or research are needed to confirm what are the possible reasons for their elevated C-Reactive Protein or CRP Results. The important thing to note though is that people should talk to their doctor about their existing medical conditions for them to be able to properly assess the results of the said test.