A C-reactive protein (CRP Test) ascertains the levels of C reactive protein in a person. It is a protein produced by the liver. When the body is inflamed, it is released into the bloodstream. The body inflames when trying to shield itself against an injury or infection. The most common manifestations are redness, swelling, and pain in the injured area.
For example, when one bumps their head. Chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders also result in inflammation. A healthy body does not possess high levels of CRP, because they are an indication of an infection. CRP tests examine different conditions that might cause inflammation. CRP test prices depend on the lab you confer with.
Uses of CRP Test
The different uses for a CRP test are:
- Bacterial infections : Bacterial infections like Sepsis are life-threatening and can be diagnosed through a CRP test. Sepsis manifests when the body releases chemicals in the blood to combat different diseases but instead gets inflamed. The result is damage to organs and systems, which can sometimes be fatal. India has nearly 1 million Sepsis patients annually.
- Fungal infection : Fungal infections of Mycosis are widespread and are a manifestation of fungus. It penetrates the body’s tissues and results in conditions. The severity of the illness can limit itself to the skin or penetrate deeper into organs and tissues. It can typically be resolved within a few months with the correct antibiotics and Topical creams.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding : This is a severe condition that manifests in the digestive tract. The bleeding can affect one’s stomach, esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The severity of bleeding will determine the damage bourne by one’s organs.
- Arthritis : Arthritis causes swelling in the body’s joints. As a result, they become stiff and it is difficult for people to stay mobile.
- Osteolylitis : This is an infrequent disorder and records lesser than 5,000 cases annually in India. The bones become inflamed due to infections suffered by one’s legs, spine and arms. These infections travel through the bloodstream or adjoining tissues.
What are the Causes of High CRP Levels
Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can trigger an immune response and lead to increased CRP production. Examples include urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and sepsis.
Inflammatory conditions: Chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), and vasculitis can cause persistent inflammation and elevated CRP levels.
Tissue injury or trauma: Any type of tissue damage, such as from surgery, burns, or injuries, can lead to localized inflammation and subsequent elevation of CRP.
Autoimmune disorders: Conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or autoimmune hepatitis, can result in chronic inflammation and increased CRP levels.
Cardiovascular diseases: Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other cardiovascular diseases can trigger inflammation in the blood vessels, leading to elevated CRP levels. CRP has been used as a marker of cardiovascular risk.
Obesity: Excess body fat, particularly in the abdominal area, is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. This inflammation can lead to increased CRP levels.
Cancer: Certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer, can cause elevated CRP levels due to the inflammation associated with the disease.
Smoking: Smoking is known to promote systemic inflammation, which can result in increased CRP levels.
What are the Symptoms of High CRP Levels
Pain and swelling: Inflammation often leads to pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. For example, if the inflammation is in the joints, you may experience joint pain and swelling.
Fever: Systemic inflammation can cause an elevation in body temperature, leading to fever.
Fatigue: Chronic inflammation can contribute to persistent fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.
Loss of appetite: Elevated CRP levels can affect appetite, leading to a decrease in food intake.
Muscle stiffness: Inflammatory conditions like arthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica can cause stiffness and limited range of motion in the muscles and joints.
Elevated heart rate: Inflammation can increase heart rate as the body’s response to the inflammatory process.
How Is CRP Test Conducted?
The CRP test is conducted using a needle. It is similar to the other regular testing methods, where a healthcare provider draws blood through an injection. The sample is collected in a tube which is sent for testing. You do not need to resort to cumbersome preparations such as empty stomach or any others.
High CRP levels are a manifestation of inflammation in the sufferer’s body. The result will not delve deeper into the condition but only reveal the CRP levels. To examine it further, confer with the doctor, who will guide you through this process.
Factors like immobility, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking and others can also contribute to excess CRP levels. It is not always a cause for concern or an indication of a signficant ailment. Sometimes it can be remedied with quick lifestyle adjustments.
People with heart conditions are often prescribed CRP tests. Your cholesterol levels must be ascertained to ensure good health and a whole heart.
How to lower CRP Levels?
If you have not been diagnosed with severe diseases but your CRP levels are still high, you might want to consider sustainable life changes. As our bodies age, they require more care and healing. Exercising, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy diet will reduce the levels and retain a limber body.
Medications: Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., corticosteroids, NSAIDs)
Healthy diet: Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains; limit processed foods and unhealthy fats
Weight management: Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Regular exercise: Engage in aerobic and strength training exercises
Smoking cessation: Quit smoking
Stress management: Practice techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga
Dietary supplements: Consider omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, green tea extract (consult with healthcare provider)
Treat underlying conditions: Address and manage conditions contributing to inflammation
Regular monitoring: Keep track of CRP levels with the guidance of a healthcare professional.