CRP Test – Everything You Need to Know about It

November 12, 2012

CRP Test - Everything You Need to Know about It

A CRP test is generally a non-specific test that doctors use to detect inflammation in cases of suspected tissue injuries or infections. However, this test will not be able to tell what causes the inflammation or where it is to begin with. Fortunately, it can still be used with other tests, symptoms and signs to find out what the inflammatory condition of the person is, though.

What Can It be Used For?

A CRP test can be used to monitor or detect inflammation if people are suspected of having acute conditions like:

  • A pelvic inflammatory disease

  • A serious infection caused by bacteria, such as a fungal infection or sepsis

A CRP test is also helpful when it comes to monitoring people who have chronic inflammatory conditions. This is because it can detect flare-ups and find out whether the treatment is working or not.

Here are some examples:

  • Various kinds of arthritis

  • Autoimmune diseases, like vasculitis or lupus

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Sometimes, this test is also ordered with an ESR test to detect inflammation. Although a CRP test isn’t specific enough when used alone to diagnose certain diseases, it can mark general inflammations and infections and thus alert doctors when more treatments or tests are needed. Depending on what the potential causes are, various tests might need to be done to find out where the inflammation is actually coming from.

When Should It be Ordered?

A CRP test might be needed if your medical history, symptoms and signs seem to show a bacterial infection in the body. If a baby has infection signs or if somebody has sepsis symptoms, like a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, fever and chills, then this test should be ordered. C

RP tests should also be ordered regularly to monitor certain conditions, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and is usually done repeatedly to find out whether the treatment is working or not. This would be especially helpful for inflammation problems because the CRP levels tend to drop whenever the inflammation subsides.

What Do the Results Mean?

The CRP levels inside the bloodstream are usually low. Therefore, a higher level of CRP inside the bloodstream might suggest an inflammation. However, it is not possible to pinpoint the exact location of the inflammation or what is causing it. People who have serious bacterial infections usually have high CRP levels, while people who have chronic inflammatory conditions and high CRP levels should change the forms of treatment that they have been getting so far.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

Some pregnant women and obese women might experience higher CRP levels, as well. In cases of inflammation, a CRP test and an ESR test might be used together, too, though the CRP levels will usually increase faster and then decrease even faster in these cases compared to the ESR levels.

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