When there is inflammation in the body, the C-reactive protein or CRP is released from the liver as a consequence of tissue damage and swelling in the body. Hence, a C-Reactive Protein test or CRP test refers to the test that evaluates the level of inflammation in the body with a simple, routinely performed blood test.
What does a c-reactive protein test mean?
A C-reactive protein test measures the level of c-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a protein produced by the liver and sent into the bloodstream in response to inflammation. Inflammation is a natural way of protecting the tissues from an injury or an infection. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the injured or affected areas. Few chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders are also known to cause inflammation.
When to get tested?
Your healthcare professional may suggest testing if you have certain acute conditions that may cause inflammation. For Example, inflammatory bowel disease, critical viral, a fungal or bacterial infection of the lung, skin, or urinary tract. Inflammation may result from pre-existing inflammatory disorders such as lupus, autoimmune disorders, or arthritis.
Apart from the above reasons, your health care advisor may also order a CRP test to diagnose:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Sepsis in a newborn child
- Determine your risk of heart disease
This test also helps while monitoring the patient after a surgery, as the CRP levels are known to rise post-surgery.
What to expect when getting tested?
Preparing for the C-Reactive Protein Test
C-reactive protein is measured from a blood sample collected from the vein of your arm. Providing a blood sample is a low-risk procedure performed routinely and can take only a few minutes. You can resume your daily activities immediately after the test.
Before the test
Your healthcare provider reviews your medications before the test. Some medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and statins, affect the CRP levels. Few supplements (Magnesium) can also impact the CRP level. So, inform your health advisor about any medications or supplements that you take regularly and ask for suggestions regarding their usage before the test. The test involves overnight fasting, where the patient needs to have no food or liquid except water after the previous night’s meal.
During the test
A technician will draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm by placing a rubber tourniquet around the upper arm. The technician will clean that area of your arm with an alcohol wipe and then insert a needle to draw out a vial of blood. You are likely to have a pinching sensation at the time of needle insertion. The technician will then remove the tourniquet, withdraw the needle, and place a bandage over the area.
In rare conditions, there may be side effects such as infection or light-headedness. Though these complications are quite unlikely, make sure to contact your health advisor if you notice any side effects post-testing.
What does it mean if CRP is high?
Your physician will explain to you what the results of your test mean. You are likely to receive the test results after a few days of blood sample collection.
CRP is measured in milligrams per litre (mg/L). The range may vary depending on the laboratory performing the tests. The CRP test blood results can be one of the following.
Normal CRP levels: Less than 10 mg/L
High CRP levels: Equal or more than 10 mg/L
CRP high in blood test may indicate you may have some form of inflammation in the body, which may be due to a serious infection, injury, or disease. However, the CRP test does not help identify the cause of inflammation nor does it help determine the inflammation site. So if your results are not normal, your doctor may recommend other tests to determine the cause.
How much does the test cost?
Factors contributing to the cost of a CRP test include the materials needed to carry out the test, the fee for the technician who draws your blood, the laboratory charge for analysing the sample, and the doctor’s fee.
In case of acute inflammation, health care experts recommend a CRP blood test. CRP test has been very important in COVID. You can now easily avail the facility of the CRP test at a basic cost of Rs.400 onwards where the sample can be picked up from your doorstep. The CRP test price lal path lab is around Rs. 400, same as the thyrocare CRP test price.
The results will be available online or can be picked up from the diagnostic centre within 3 to 4 days.
Other good to know facts about a CRP test
If you have higher than normal CRP level, it does not actually mean that you have a medical condition that requires treatment. There are other risk factors such as cigarette smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle that impact the CRP levels.
A CRP test and high-sensitivity-(hs) CRP test, both measure CRP. However, both are used to diagnose different conditions of the body. A hs-CRP test helps determine lower CRP levels. It can be used to check for the risk of heart disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean if the CRP level is high in your blood?
High levels of CRP in your blood may be a sign of infection or other disorders that may need immediate medical attention.
Is the C-reactive protein test related to Covid-19?
According to a clinical study, people with covid-19 showed higher CRP values (20 to 50 mg/L), indicating that people with severe covid showed signs of inflammation, Viral infection, and tissue damage.
What are CRP lab tests for?
The diagnostic labs test for C-Reactive Protein levels during a CRP test to check for probable chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders-lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and viral or bacterial inflammation. The test also helps determine the risk of having chronic heart diseases.
What are the symptoms of high CRP levels?
People having elevated CRP levels are likely to have severe bacterial infections that show signs and symptoms such as:
- Fever with chills,
- Weakness, soreness, and muscular stiffness,
- Indigestion problems,
- Insomnia or sleeping difficulties,
- Loss of appetite,
- Difficulty breathing,
- Shivering, sweating,
- Rashes on the skin,
- Loss of unconsciousness.
CRP blood test can be availed along with a Complete Blood Count or CBC CRP blood test. A complete Hemogram includes a total of 24 parameters that play a vital role in assessing infections, disorders as well as the overall physical well-being of an individual.