C reactive protein is secreted by the liver. High amounts of this protein are secreted during an infection or inflammation of any body part or organ.
Thus, high level of CRP is a marker for the following health complications:
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory conditions like IBS, pelvic inflammatory disease
- Post surgery infections
- Detecting tuberculosis and rheumatic fever
- Infection in bones, lymph nodes, joints and intestine
- Risk of cancer
- Risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack
You need to tell your doctor about the medicines you are taking, which include birth control pills and NSAIDs also. This is because certain medicines might affect the accuracy of test results.
Just like any other blood test, CRP test also involves collecting your blood with a needle and syringe.
The blood sample is usually collected from the arm. The site for inserting the needle is cleaned with alcohol and an elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm.
The medical practitioner would give you cotton ball to compress the injection site or you may also be given a pressure wrap after the needle is removed.
The procedure is pretty simple. You can drive back home by yourself and resume normal activities.
Since a needle would be inserted, you would definitely feel a sharp pinch or prick for few seconds. You will also sense pressure in your arm when the elastic band or pressure gauge is wrapped.
Generally no risks are associated with CRP tests. However, some people complain of swelling and tenderness around the site of puncture.
If you have a bleeding disorder, then bleeding might continue. However, your doctor would take care of that before carrying out the test.
Light-headedness and dizziness are some other risks.
Apart from medicines, being pregnant and obese might also affect test results.
Women who wear IUD need to tell their doctor about it as it can also be an interfering factor.
Results are interpreted as low, average and high risk.
CRP levels as determined by most laboratories are:
- Low risk: < 1.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L)
- Average risk: between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
- High risk: > 3.0 mg/L
However before coming to a conclusion, your doctor will suggest several other confirmatory tests for that specific health issue.
The test is pretty simple and the test results will be handed over with 24 hours. If abnormal results have been found out, then you have to prepare for further diagnosis.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 28, 2014