What is C-reactive protein (CRP)
(CRP) or C-reactive protein is an acute-phase protein found in the blood which rises in reaction with inflammation to treat forms of arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune diseases to measure how active the inflammation levels are and to healthy monitor the treatment. The physical role is to bind phosphocholine to dead or dying cells and thus enabling dead cells replacement to activate the complement system via the C1Q complex. CRP is fused by the liver and belongs to the family of pentraxin proteins.
Conducting the CRP blood test
Conducting the CRP blood test is similar to other blood test, at the laboratory or a clinic. A doctor collects a blood sample from the vein using a needle or by poking on the finger or feet for children and infants. The procedure has no side effects and does not show any physical manifestations except for slight bruises, which lasts for an hour or two.
Understanding the C-reactive protein levels
Understanding the C-reactive protein levels is of paramount significance, especially in case of an inflammation, as other inflammation processes such as trauma, arthritis and infections can cause C-reactive protein levels to rise rapidly. It is in the best interest of the patients that they have this test done when any inflammation by consulting a clinic or a laboratory.
What are the main causes of an elevated C-reactive protein?
The main causes of an elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) are;
- types of cancers
- active inflammatory arthritis
Fasting and the CRP Blood Test
As C-reactive protein CRP change’s with other factors of inflammation, doctors recommend conducting these tests twice, once with fasting and the other after without fasting two weeks later. When one considers the average of these two tests, it will provide accurate results, which are independent of the other factors. By accurate results of C-reactive protein, one can identify the cardiovascular diseases.
What could cause cardiovascular diseases
Some of the factors that may lead to cardiovascular diseases are;
- advancing age
- high cholesterol
- diabetes mellitus
- high blood pressure
- cigarette smoking
- excessive alcoholism
According to the American Heart Association the CRP levels are advised below.
- Low – 1 mg/litre or lower suggest having low risk cardiovascular diseases
- Medium – Moderate risk diseases have 1-3 mg/litre of CRP levels
- High – High risk levels have CRP levels of 3-10 mg/litre
- High Risk – Heart attacks have CRP levels of greater than 10 mg/litre
Higher CRP Levels
Higher the CRP levels, higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Though high CRP levels add to risk of cardiovascular diseases, they are not entirely responsible for them. Blood sample helps determine C-reactive protein, where the normal range is between 3-5 mg/litre. Identifying cardiovascular diseases require testing both CRP and cholesterol, though there are some controversies with regard to this approach.
Lower CRP Levels
To lower the C-reactive protein levels, one has to do regular exercise, have a correct diet and refrain from smoking. Experts suggest using the same medication for lower cholesterol such as statins or simvastatin for C–reactive proteins, though C–reactive proteins can be lowered irrespective of cholesterol. Using aspirin also known as acetylsalicylic acid to reduce C-reactive proteins levels in individuals with cardiovascular diseases is possible, but it does not have an effect in healthy individuals. Some diabetes medicines also reduce C-reactive protein levels along with their glucose reducing capacity. These medicines had their effect on individuals with or without diabetes type 2
How to prevent High CRP Levels
Avoiding cardiovascular diseases requires the prevention of elevated C-reactive protein levels. Some preventive measures, are right management of the following; high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Apart from these, to reduce C–reactive proteins, exercises, diet, cessation of smoking and weight loss are the best bet.
The below table exhibits ranges with regard to total cholesterol, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as High-density lipoprotein (HDL) (“good”) cholesterol levels following 7 to 12 hours of fasting. High blood cholestrerol levels is really a danger factor with regard to coronary heart disease.