When you are diagnosed with inflammation, your doctor may prescribe a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. The test helps the medical expert determine the inflammation level in your body and carry out the treatment process accordingly.
What’s a C-reactive Protein Test?
In most cases, an injury or an infection causes inflammation, and in such scenarios, the body's natural mechanism to heal and fight the infection automatically gets triggered. Our liver synthesizes C-reactive protein (CRP) pentameric protein in response to inflammation, which mixes in the bloodstream and fights against bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, rheumatic and other inflammatory diseases, tissue injury, necrosis, and malignancy.
In normal circumstances, CRP levels are low in the blood. However, during inflammation, the levels rise, in which case the CRP test helps ascertain the amount of CRP protein in your body. According to experts, moderate to high CRP levels can indicate an underlying medical condition.
Note: CRP test can only determine if you've inflammation in the body and not the primary cause of it.
When Would You Need the C-reactive protein (CRP) Test?
Doctors usually prescribe a CRP test when they notice signs and symptoms of inflammation in your body. According to medical experts, inflammation can be chronic (long-lasting - for months/years) or acute (due to an injury). Thus to determine the level of inflammation and diagnose the underlying cause, the doctors advise you for the C-reactive protein test.
In general, healthcare practitioners prescribe a CRP blood test to diagnose or rule out:
Bacterial infections (sepsis) and their symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, and more.
Chronic inflammatory diseases like lupus or arthritis
Inflammatory bowel disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease, among others
A CRP test also determines the risk of cardiac diseases. Though measuring the cholesterol (LDL) level is the norm in diagnosing cardiovascular disease, it falls short as an accurate predictor. But, Harvard research shows that CRP outperforms LDL cholesterol as a predictor for heart disease.
A variant of the CRP Test, the hs-CRP (high-sensitivity) test, helps doctors diagnose and predict the risk of developing heart disease and its complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, etc.
Preparing for the C-reactive protein (CRP) Test – An Insight
In general, no special preparation is necessary for a CRP test, and the healthcare provider will let you know if any preparation for the test is needed. However, as a precautionary measure, you must inform your healthcare practitioner about your food habits and if you're on any oral medication.
Before undertaking the test, you must avoid the following:
Strenuous exercises like weight lifting and long-running
Avoid consuming solid foods and drinking at least 24 hours before the test - Especially if your healthcare provider has recommended additional tests along with the CRP blood test to diagnose any medical condition.
Oral medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen, and others - these medications often influence your test results
Magnesium supplements - it's known to disrupt your CRP levels too.
What Can You Expect During and After the C-reactive protein (CRP) Test?
A healthcare professional inserts the peripheral venous catheter into the lower part of your arm or the back of your hand and takes your blood sample.
The expert will instantly cover your punctured area with a bandage to prevent bruising. The experts might also ask you to wait a little while to check if you're experiencing any signs of fainting, lightheartedness, etc.
After taking the sample, they will send it to the laboratory for further analysis. You can expect your test results within 24-48 hours as a physical copy or via email/WhatsApp.
Since the process hardly takes 5 minutes, you can continue your daily routine after giving the blood sample.
What are the Risks Associated with the C-reactive protein (CRP) Test?
According to medical experts, no significant risks are associated with the CRP blood test. However, you may experience a sting (when the needle goes in), numbness, or bruising and swelling, especially if the healthcare practitioner isn't careful with the needle.
None of these after-effects are long-lasting, but you must consult your healthcare expert immediately if they trouble you for a long time.
What’s the Normal C-reactive protein (CRP) Test Range?
Once you've received your report from the lab, you must consult your healthcare expert for proper interpretation of the test results. Since there's a different CRP test normal range for every laboratory, any confusion w.r.t the test results can be harmful.
Here's a quick overview of the CRP test result range and what it might indicate:
Less than 0.3 mg/dL: It's the CRP Test normal range (indicates a healthy individual)
0.3 to 1.0 mg/dL: Normal or minor elevation (observed when you're obese, pregnant, undergoing depression, living a sedentary lifestyle, or are fighting issues like the common cold, gingivitis, etc.)
1.0 to 10.0 mg/dL: Moderate elevation in the CRP levels (triggers due to inflammations like RA, SLE, autoimmune diseases, malignancies, pancreatitis, or bronchitis).
More than 10.0 mg/dL: Experts mark it as elevation (occurs due to Acute bacterial or viral infections, systemic vasculitis, or major trauma).
More than 50.0 mg/dL: Severe elevation (when you experience Acute bacterial infections).
Another variant of the CRP test, the hs-CRP test, can help detect deficient levels of CRP protein in your blood. For this test, the reference range is:
Less than 2.0 mg/L: Lower risk of heart disease
Equal to or greater than 2.0 mg/L: High risk of heart disease
What do the Test Results Mean?
Anything above the CRP test normal range signifies inflammation in the body. But, it does not determine the root cause of inflammation. The healthcare provider will look for other symptoms and order additional tests to accurately diagnose the cause of inflammation.
Also, CRP levels are significantly higher in females and the elderly than in males. Further, patients with a high body mass index are known to have higher CRP levels.
Issues like insomnia, depression, recent injury, particular medical treatments, etc., cause higher CRP levels. So, your healthcare expert will consider all these factors before interpreting the test results.
Why Consider HealthcareOnTime for Booking C-reactive protein (CRP) Test from Home?
HealthcareOnTime is a NABL/ICMR-certified pathology lab with the most affordable CRP test prices. The cutthroat competition in the market has inflated CRP test costs, but HealthcareOnTime offers pocket-friendly prices. Also, you can get a CRP test at your home itself.
If you're opting for the home-testing facility of HealthcareOnTime, you need not visit your nearby diagnostic center. You can get tested hassle-free from the comfort of your home. Our trained professionals will reach your place to collect your blood sample and send it over to the lab for further analysis. You can expect your results in 48 hours; this service is available 24x7.
The CRP blood test cost, home test service, trained professionals, state-of-the-art laboratories, and timely report delivery make HealthcareOnTime the best option for a C-reactive protein test.
So, book your C-reactive test from HealthcareOnTime today!
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