C-reactive proteins are the major acute proteins produced by liver in response to tissue damage. Though not condition specific, they are a significant indicator of some current health problem. Many things can cause an increase in CRP (from osteoarthritis, to cancer, to the common cold or bacterial or vial infection), but in the absence of any specific disease, an increased CRP level poses a significant risk of heart disease. As a matter of fact, CRP is the first indicator of heart disease recommended by the American Heart Association in over 20 years, specifically high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). So, hs-CRP is most often used to help predict a healthy person's risk of cardiovascular disease.
ABOUT HS-CRP TEST
CRP test is not a replacement for the cholesterol panel test; rather it is used along with the cholesterol tests and other risk factors to assess overall risk and to set up supporting guidelines for the assessment of severity of cardiac and several other disorders like cancer, angina, myocardial infarction & pregnancy complications etc. Both, American Heart Association and Center for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested taking this inexpensive and simple test as a primary approach for the evaluation of heart diseases.
This hs-CRP test adds an important additional piece of information to a doctor's traditional assessment of overall cardiac health. CRP is produced when the arteries around the heart become inflamed by atherosclerosis. Even in the absence of traditional blockages, inflamed artery walls can become softened and develop weak areas that can suddenly rupture. Plaque also develops more quickly in inflamed arteries, increasing the risks of heart attack or stroke.
Healthy men and women with normal cholesterol levels are still at risk for future heart attack if they have elevated levels of hs-CRP. Even people who have hs-CRP results in the high end of the normal range have 1.5 to 4 times the risk of having a heart attack as those individuals with CRP values in the lower half.
You can see a sample result report here.
C-Reaction protein or CRP is a protein found in blood whose concentration increases with an onset of immune response when various bacterial and viral infections kick in. This increase is not only limited to any specific defect caused by a foreign particle or micro-organism. It can also increase in response to various diseases caused due to other factors such as age, genetic makeup, mutations, lifestyle, etc.
The list of diseases in which CRP has a direct or indirect role is big. The concentration of CRP varies in response to the various stages of these pathological conditions. Since they can be easily detected in the blood, they also serve as an important marker for their diagnosis and prognosis.
The release of C-reactive proteins is a part of the complex cascade of events involving a variety of chemical mediators required to initiate the inflammatory response. So, high levels of CRP in the blood indicate inflammation somewhere in the body. Inflammation is the primary immunological response to tissue damage caused by a wound or by an invading pathological microbe. So, it acts as an important indicator of initiation and progression of many diseases.
According to Harvard Medical School, some of the important scenarios where inflammation is used as a marker are:
- In the detection of cardiovascular diseases
- As a check for effectiveness of various anti-inflammatory treatments.
- To help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, this is characterized by high levels of CRP.
- For early detection of various post-operative infections.
CRP levels can increase many thousand-folds with inflammation which makes CRP a very sensitive marker for diagnosis and prognosis using minimal amount of sample.
Conditions that commonly lead to huge changes in CRP include fever, injury infection, trauma, surgery, burns, inflammatory conditions, and advanced cancer. Moderate changes occur after strenuous exercise, heatstroke, and childbirth.
Small changes occur after psychological stress and in several psychiatric illnesses. Pregnancy may also increase CRP levels. Since major infections or illness can result in alarmingly high, but temporary, levels of CRP, repeated testing may be required if CRP level crosses 10 mg/L.
CRP tests when combined with results of other diagnostic measures may provide a valuable insight into your body’s current state of health.
Note to NY Residents: due to NY State restrictions, this kit may not be sold to NY State Residents.
How Does CRP(C-Reactive Protein) Test Work?
The specimen collection process is quick and virtually painless. Using the special finger lancet, which is included in the Blood Collection Kit, a couple of drops of blood are taken from a nick of the finger and placed on a small collection card. The card is then sent to a CLIA Certified Laboratory for analysis.
After testing your blood sample to see how much CRP(C-Reactive Protein)is present and then reports the results in an easy-to-read, understandable form.
Since the CRP(C-Reactive Protein) test produces a numerical result rather than a simple "yes" or "no" answer, both testing approval and professional review of test results is required by a licensed health care professional.
Please note that we strongly suggest that you visit your personal doctor with your results. The report is a complimentary service and not intended to provide health advice.
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