C-Reactive Protein Test

1 What is a C-Reactive Protein Test?

When there is any form of inflammation in your body, there is a significant rise of the level of C-reactive protein in blood as well.

Your respective doctor can check for check your C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test, which is more sensitive compared to a standard test.

This test can also be used to make an evaluation of your risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition that eventually leads to a heart attack.

A simple blood test measures C-reactive protein. A number of researchers believe that giving treatment to individuals who have high C-reactive levels will reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, however, this test is not a recommendation for general screening for heart disease.

And it cannot be helpful in finding out your risk of a heart attack, depending on your health and lifestyle choices.

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2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo C-reactive protein test.

A CRP may be ordered to check for inflammation. This inflammation is usually an indication of infection or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a risk of heart attack.

CRP test for heart disease. Many experts believe that high hs-CRP level in your blood may be a by-product of narrowed coronary arteries.

A CRP test can be helpful to you doctor in determining the location of the inflammation. However, high hs-CRP levels can also mean that there is inflammation in other parts of your body beside your heart.

According to the American Heart Association, an hs-CRP test is most beneficial to individuals who have an immediate risk (a 10 to 20 percent chance) of having a heart attack within the next decade.

This risk level, is known as the global assessment, is based on lifestyle choices, family history, and current health status.

An hs- CRP test is less beneficial especially to individuals who have a small risk of having a heart attack.

Individuals with a high risk must seek treatment and apply preventive measures with no regard to how high their hs-CRP level is.

3 Potential Risks

A C-reactive protein test is a generally safe test, it only holds a few risks.

Some tenderness and soreness can develop around the site where the blood is drawn. In rare occasions, this site may become infected.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

There is no special routine you need to follow in preparing for a C-reactive protein test.

Some instructions may be given to you in specific cases where your blood will be tested for other purposes.

It is very important to consult your doctor if you will undergo other tests at the same time. Certain types of medication have effects on CRP level.

Therefore, you must let your doctor know what medications you might be taking before the test can be done.

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your C-reactive protein test.

During the procedure. Before the needle can be inserted to draw blood from a vein in your arm, an elastic band around your upper arm causes a filling of blood in the veins of that particular arm, and the puncture site is sterilized with an antiseptic.

After the needle penetrates the skin, your doctor will proceed to collect blood into a vial or syringe. Afterward, the band is removed to restore circulation, and the blood continues to flow into the vial.

When the adequate amount of blood has been collected, the needle is removed and the puncture site is covered with a pressure wrap. This s a quick and relatively painless procedure.

After the procedure. You should have the capabilities of driving yourself home or returning to your normal daily activities as soon as the CRP test is over.

It will take a few days before the results can be made available to you. Your doctor will clearly explain them to you when they will be released.

If your reason for an hs-CRP test is to help in finding your risk of heart disease, you must remember that your CRP is just one of the many factors that can result in coronary heart disease.

If your results indicate that you have a high CRP level, it does not mean that you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about other risk factors and the best ways of preventing coronary artery disease and a heart attack.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your C-reactive protein test will be made possible by your doctor.

If you are undergoing an hs-CRP test to make an evaluation of your risk of heart disease, the following risk levels are currently in use:

  • Low risk. You have a CRP level of less than 1.0 milligram per liter (mg/L).
  • Average risk. You have a CRP level between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L.
  • High risk. You have a CRP level greater than 3.0 mg/L.

These risk levels aren't a definitive measure of your risk because the ideal indicator of high CRP isn't clearly defined.

Also, because a person's CRP levels vary over time, it's recommended that the average of two tests, ideally taken two weeks apart, be used to determine coronary artery disease risk.

If you're having an hs-CRP test to check for heart disease, your doctor is likely to request a cholesterol test at the same time.

Other tests might be done to further evaluate your coronary artery disease risk. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes or medications to decrease your risk of a heart attack.

A test result showing a CRP level greater than 10 mg/L is a sign of serious infection, trauma or chronic disease, which likely will require further testing to determine the cause.