When the body goes through an inflammatory process, the liver activates the production of C-reactive protein , better known as CRP. This substance is part of a group of proteins called acute phase reactants that increase its response even before symptoms of inflammation appear.
A blood test reveals the concentration of C-reactive protein in the fluid. Although this test does not allow diagnosing any disease, it is of great help for doctors to check if an inflammatory or infectious condition is occurring in the body and to rule out or diagnose conditions such as heart attacks, appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and other conditions. In eHealth we have prepared this article with detailed information about what is C-reactive protein and what are the normal values of this substance in the body.
What is C-reactive protein
Shortly after an inflammatory or infectious process occurs in the human body, the liver reacts by releasing high amounts of C-reactive protein . This substance was discovered in 1930 and its appearance in the bloodstream was believed to be caused by an organism’s response to the presence of the pneumococcal virus or carcinomas. However, over the years it was found that its increase is totally related to liver function.
Nowadays there are many circumstances in which a medical specialist asks his patients for a C-reactive protein blood test, which is why many people wonder what the PCR test is for . This common question has many answers, since the measurement of this substance is an indicator not only of infectious and inflammatory processes. Currently, it has been shown that those with high levels of CRP in the blood are more prone to cardiovascular damage, diabetes and hypertension .
So far, although some organs with cancer undergo significant inflammatory processes, a strong link between elevated C-reactive protein levels and this disease has not been demonstrated.
It is also very common for doctors to request a CRP measurement to rule out autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis . This test is also ordered to determine if treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs is working. It is very common for the medical order for PCR to be accompanied by another medical test called erythrocyte sedimentation, which serves to corroborate the presence of inflammation.
Normal values of protein C reagent
Blood CRP values may vary depending on laboratory measurement parameters. The levels of this substance are usually quite low, but it has been shown that women, the elderly, African-American people, overweight and those who practice a lot of physical activity have slightly higher values of this protein.
The test is carried out by taking a small blood sample from the person that will be evaluated over the next few hours. In general, the results can be obtained the same day of the analysis or the next day. It is considered that the PCR values are normal when not exceed 3 mg / L .
Why do I have high C-reactive protein?
The release of C-reactive protein in the body responds to inflammatory and infectious processes that may be related to various situations such as infection with fungi, viruses, bacteria, and liver, cardiovascular, immunological and rheumatological pathologies. Elevated CRP levels do not indicate where the problem occurs in the body, however, they can help determine the severity of the condition.
- CRP between 3 and 10 mg / L : it is associated with mild infections such as gingivitis, the common cold and the flu .
- CRP between 10 and 40 mg / L : respiratory infections beware.
- CRP greater than 40 mg / L : infections caused by bacteria.
- CRP higher than 200 mg / L : it can be an indicator of septicemia, an infection that has spread over a large part of the body and poses a significant risk to the life of the patient.
However, an elevated CRP level may not be associated with any of the above conditions, but other medical tests are needed to corroborate a diagnosis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, conditions in which protein C reactive is elevated but cannot be diagnosed so easily, but requires more blood tests.
What to do when your CRP is high?
After obtaining the result of the PCR and verifying that the levels are elevated, the doctor should evaluate the symptoms of the person to determine which tests to order based on obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Let us understand that the important thing is not to lower the CRP, as this does not cause a health risk, the true objective is to discover the cause of the increase in C-reactive protein to treat it immediately.
When the person has a type of itching or skin allergy, it may be a disorder in the immune system, when there is a lack of appetite and abdominal pain, appendicitis should be ruled out, and if there is only general discomfort or no other symptoms, further evaluations are necessary, including markers. tumors and CT scans. If the values are above 200 mg / L, the correct thing to do is to hospitalize the person and immediately begin treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
What is ultra sensitive PCR?
It is a special test requested by medical specialists to measure CRP based on whether or not a person is at risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. This test is usually ordered in healthy people to find out how likely they are to have a heart attack or stroke. This test is much more accurate and allows the detection of minute amounts of CRP in blood. The results can be interpreted as follows:
- CRP less than 1.0 mg / dl : low cardiovascular risk.
- CRP between 1.0 and 3.0 mg / dl : medium cardiovascular risk.
- CRP greater than 3.0 mg / dl : high cardiovascular risk.
When a person obtains high values in a sensitive CRP test and does not present any symptoms or discomfort, it is important that their doctor prescribes a series of preventive care to avoid complications such as peripheral arterial disease, heart attack and stroke. Maintaining a healthy diet, reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages and practicing physical activity are habits that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.