The level of C-reactive protein (CRP) increases when there’s inflammation in your body. A simple blood test can be done to check your C-reactive protein level.
A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is more sensitive than a standard CRP test. That means the high-sensitivity test can detect slight increases within the normal range of standard CRP levels. The hs-CRP test can be used to determine your risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition in which the arteries of your heart are narrowed. Coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack.
What is a c-reactive protein (CRP) test?
A c-reactive protein test measures the level of c-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. CRP is a protein made by your liver. It’s sent into your bloodstream in response to inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting your tissues if you’ve been injured or have an infection. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the injured or affected area. Some autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases can also cause inflammation.
Normally, you have low levels of c-reactive protein in your blood. High levels may be sign of a serious infection or other disorder.
What is it used for?
A CRP test may be used to find or monitor conditions that cause inflammation.
▪️Bacterial infections, such as sepsis, a severe and sometimes life-threatening condition.
▪️A fungal infection.
▪️Inflammatory bowel disease, a disorder that causes swelling and bleeding in the intestines.
▪️An autoimmune disorder such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
▪️An infection of the bone called osteomyelitis.
Why do I need a CRP test?
You may need this test if you have symptoms of a serious bacterial infection.
▪️Rapid heart rate.
▪️Nausea and vomiting.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with an infection or have a chronic disease, this test may be used to monitor your treatment. CRP levels rise and fall depending on how much inflammation you have. If your CRP levels go down, it’s a sign that your treatment for inflammation is working.
What happens during a CRP test?
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This process usually takes less than five minutes.
Are there any risks to the test?
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
What do the results mean?
If your results show a high level of CRP, it probably means you have some type of inflammation in your body. A CRP test doesn’t explain the cause or location of the inflammation. So if your results are not normal, your health care provider may order more tests to figure out why you have inflammation.
A higher than normal CRP level does not necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. There are other factors that can raise your CRP levels. These include cigarette smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise.
A note about CRP tests for heart disease.
A high level of hs-CRP in the blood has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. Also, people with a high level of hs-CRP who have had a heart attack are more likely to have another one compared with those with a normal hs-CRP level.
An hs-CRP test isn’t recommended for everyone. The test doesn’t show the cause of inflammation — and it’s possible that a high level could mean the inflammation isn’t affecting your heart, especially if the level is significantly higher than normal.
An hs-CRP test may be most useful for people who have a 10% to 20% chance of having a heart attack within the next 10 years, or intermediate risk. Your doctor will determine your risk level using assessment scoring tests that consider your lifestyle choices, family history and current health status.
If you’re at high risk of having a heart attack, you should always get treatment and take steps to protect your heart health, regardless of your hs-CRP level.
“C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test”, medlineplus.gov
C-reactive protein test/https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/c-reactive-protein-test