CRP (C-Reactive Protein) Test

C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver. The level of CRP increases when there is inflammation anywhere in the body. This is one of the groups of proteins called the acute phase of reactants that go up in response to inflammation. The levels of the acute phase reactants increase in the response to certain inflammatory proteins called cytokines. This protein is produced by white blood cells (WBC) during the inflammation.

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What is a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test? 

The C-reactive protein (CRP) test analyses the presence of CRP in the blood. CRP is a nonspecific marker of inflammation, and it can rise in response to inflammatory conditions including infection, trauma, the heart, and autoimmune diseases. Other tests are performed along with CRP to diagnose a particular condition and determine its location. It also helps to monitor the treatment's post-infection and inflammation.

During the previous wave of pandemics, it was seen that people with elevated levels of CRP showed a many-fold increase in the risk of developing severe COVID infection. Hence, getting tested for CRP during COVID infection and recovery can be crucial to identifying the risk of severe disease.

 

What are the other names for a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test? 

Other names are: CRP Quantitative, CRP Qualitative, CRP Test.

 

What are the test parameters included in a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

There is only one parameter: C-Reactive Protein.

What does a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test measure?

The C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein created or produced by the liver. These CRP levels in the blood increase when there is a condition that causes inflammation somewhere in the body. A CRP test analyses the amount of CRP in the blood to detect inflammation due to acute conditions or to monitor the severity of disease in chronic conditions.

 

The CRP test is a non-specific indicator of inflammation and one of the most sensitive acute phase reactants. That means it is released into the bloodstream within a few hours after the injury, the start of an infection, or other cause of inflammation. These markedly increased levels can occur, for example, after the trauma of a heart attack; with active or untreated autoimmune disorders; and with serious bacterial infections, such as sepsis. The levels of CRP can increase as much as a thousand-fold in the response to bacterial infection, and its increase in the blood can precede pain, fever, or other signs and symptoms.

 

The CRP test is not diagnostic but provides information to your healthcare practitioner as to whether inflammation is present without identifying the source of the inflammation. This information may be used in conjunction with other factors such as signs and symptoms, physical examinations, and other tests to evaluate if you have any acute inflammatory conditions or are experiencing a flare-up of this chronic inflammatory disease. The healthcare practitioner may then do the follow-up with further testing and treatment.

The standard CRP test is not to get confused with the hs-CRP test. These are two different tests that analyse CRP, and each test detects a different range of CRP levels in the blood. for different purposes.

  • The standard CRP test analyses high levels of the protein observed in diseases that cause significant inflammation. It detects CRP in the range of 8 to 1000 mg/L (or 0.8 to 100 mg/dL).

  • The hs-CRP test precisely finds the lower levels of the protein than that which is analysed by the standard CRP test and is used to evaluate individuals for risk of cardiovascular disease. It measures CRP in the range of 0.3 to 10 mg/L.

 

What’s the normal range? 

 Less than 1.0 mg/L.

Who should get a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test? 

If your doctor suspects you might have an inflammatory disorder like arthritis, cancer, an infection, etc., they may order a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. This test can show there’s a high level of inflammation, but it cannot show where the inflammation is located or what might be causing it. If you have been previously diagnosed with an inflammatory issue, your doctor may also order this test occasionally to see how your treatment is working and if the issue is being properly managed.

 

It’s important to note that the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is a slightly different test than a regular C-reaction protein test. This test typically predicts heart disease and strokes. And while the regular C-reactive test can help to uncover different diseases that cause inflammation by measuring high levels of protein, the hs-CRP test measures a lower (but still elevated) amount of protein, which can signal the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Your doctor may order an HS-CRP if they’re focusing on cardiovascular issues.

CRP and heart disease

When you consider all risk factors, people with CRP levels greater than or equal to 2 milligrams per liter (mg/L) may need more intensive measures to prevent cardiovascular disease. The elevated levels of CRP may have an important role in identifying people who may need closer follow-up or more intensive treatment after heart attacks or any heart procedures.

 

CRP levels might also be very useful in identifying people at risk of heart disease when cholesterol levels alone may not be helpful. These are considered risk factors for developing heart disease:

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Smoking

  • A low-nutrient diet higher in fat and refined carbohydrates

  • Physical inactivity

  • Heavy alcohol use

  • Overweight and obesity

Preparations Needed for the CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

There is no preparation for this test. Fasting is not required.

What is the cost of a CRP test?

What is the type of sample required?

This test requires a blood sample.

Who performs a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for a C-Reactive protein blood test, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. The samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.

 

What should I expect during my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

You can expect the experience the following during a blood test or blood draw:

  • You will have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.

  • Once they have located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.

  • Then they will insert a small needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. This might feel like a small pinch.

  • After they have inserted the needle, the required amount of blood will collect in a test tube.

  • Once they have collected enough blood to test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop any bleeding.

  • They will put a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.

This process takes less than five minutes.

 

What should I expect after my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

After a healthcare provider has collected the blood sample, they will send it to a laboratory for testing. Once the test results are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.

 

What are the risks of a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test?

These blood tests are very common and don’t carry any significant risks. You may have a  slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise may develop there.

 

When can I expect my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test results?

These reports are available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

 

What do the results of a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test mean?

Interpreting test results

The test result is the level of CRP in your blood. Depending on the laboratory’s standards, the result is expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). The report might indicate that the level is high, low, or normal.

Although the “normal” CRP levels may vary from lab to lab, it is generally accepted that a value of 0.8-1.0 mg/dL (or 8-10 mg/L) or lower is normal. Healthy adults have CRP levels lower than 0.3 mg/dL.

A minor elevation in CRP levels, generally 0.3 to 1.0 mg/dL, does not necessarily mean you have an illness that requires treatment. CRP levels may be higher in females, patients on hormone replacement therapy, and those with a high body mass index. A mildly elevated CRP can be associated with insomnia and depression. Your doctor will consider all these factors when interpreting your CRP test result.

 

A CRP level higher than 1.0 mg/dL suggests to you that there is inflammation in your body, but it does not identify the causes or the location of the inflammation. Very high levels of CRP can be associated with several types of infections, autoimmune diseases, cancers, and conditions that affect the lungs or pancreas. If the CRP level is in this range, your doctor may recommend additional tests to get more information before making a diagnosis.

This is because of variations in laboratory methods and reference ranges. The best thing is to consult with your physician for clarity about your results.

 

What are normal CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test results?

Less than 1.0 mg/dL.

What are the other tests done along with this test?

HSCRP, CKMB, Troponin I, and ESR.

How do I book a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test at home?

Log into to www.orangehealth.in and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

Frequently Asked Questions on CRP Test

What do high CRP levels mean?

If you have a moderately to severely elevated CRP value, you probably have some type of inflammation. The CRP test cannot show the cause of the inflammation or where it is in your body.

 

What is a normal CRP level?

C- Reactive protein is measured in milligrams per litre (mg/L). Standard results for the CRP test are usually given as less than 10 mg/L. 

 

Is the CRP test related to COVID?

C-reactive protein elevations have been observed in up to 86% of severe COVID-19 cases. A study revealed that those who had severe symptoms had an average CRP value of 39.4 mg/L, those with mild symptoms had an average CRP value of 18.8 mg/L.

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