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About Our C-Reactive Protein (CRP), High Sensitivity
What is CRP?
Several body parts make CRP (c-reactive protein). It is especially made by immune cells, the liver, and fat cells (adipocytes). Because its levels rise and fall depending on the amount of inflammation in the body, CRP is categorized as an acute phase reactant.
When the body goes through the early phases of an inflammatory stimulus, for example, a sports injury or an infection, CRP levels soar. So, it is easy to assume that when you have a black eye that your CRP levels are higher than usual. CRP is especially useful for inflammation that isn’t obvious, like internal inflammation.
What are CRP tests useful for?
CRP tests are a great gauge of how an infection or an injury is progressing or healing.
It is important to test periodically if you’re trying to come back from an illness. If CRP levels stay higher than the normal range, tell your doctor so they can reassess the necessary steps to take.
It can also track the progress of chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and more.
Can it detect diseases?
There are no specific symptoms that are unique to an elevated c-reactive protein level. However, the levels of inflammation can help cross out any potential diseases like Crohn’s.
What are CRP tests normal ranges?
Optimal CRP levels for everyone to strive for is under .55 mg/L in men and under 1.0 mg/L in women.
It is common for heavier individuals to have higher CRP levels since fat around the abdomen provides space for over-production of deadly pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause CRP to increase.
The fact that CRP test levels are high doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing if recent trauma has occurred in the body, the problems begin when the levels don’t go back down to normal after a while. This can indicate a destructive chronic inflammation that should be looked into by a medical professional.
When to test CRP?
After trauma occurs in the body, inflammation usually begins around 6 to 12 hours after and peaks around 48 to 96 hours after the event.
Once diagnosed with a major issue, you should test your CRP levels every once and a while to determine if your treatment is working or if modifications are necessary. C-reactive protein levels will correlate with the severity of the disease, so if the levels are rising, so should your concern.
What do I do now?
Take these results to your PCP (primary care physician) so they can do further testing or treatments if necessary.