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C-reactive protein test


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C reactive protein test is done to confirm presence of an infection or an acute inflammation in the body. High level of CRP in blood is indicative of infection and chronic illnesses. We shall explain the details of the test here...


Why is C reactive protein test done?

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


How to prepare for the test?

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. 

Otherwise, you don’t need any preparation for CRP test.


How is the test performed?

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The needle is pierced into the vein and the desired quantity of blood is withdrawn with the syringe. The blood sample may be transferred to a vial.

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.


What happens after the test?

The procedure is pretty simple. You can drive back home by yourself and resume normal activities.


How does the test feel like?

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.


Are there any risks associated with the test?

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.


What interferes with test result?

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.


How are the results interpreted?

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