C Reactive protein (CRP) is an annual, ring-shaped protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation, and whose high levels indicate an inflammation in the arteries of the heart. While a C reactive protein test can accurately determine the CRP levels in the blood, it is important to know that the CRP levels can rise if a person is suffering from any inflammatory condition.
During this test, a health practitioner first uses an antiseptic to clean the skin over the vein and wraps an elastic band around the arm to ensure your veins bulge out slightly. The blood is then drawn from a vein located at either the back of your hand or inner side of the elbow, and finally collected in a sterile vial.
The C reactive protein test is just like any regular test with low risk of any complications. However, patients may experience slight dizziness or bruising at the puncture site. Moreover, the test in combination with cholesterol test plays a vital role in determining a person’s risk of developing heart diseases. So the benefits of the test by far outweigh its complications.
The test determines the CRP levels in the blood in milligrams of CRP per liter of blood (mg/L). Lower levels of CRP in the blood are an indication of less inflammation in the body. According to medical experts, CRP levels below 1 mg/L show that a person is at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. A reading in the range 1-2.9 mg/L indicates that a person is at an intermediate risk while a reading higher than 3 mg/L indicates a high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
If your CRP levels are very high (above 10 mg/L), your doctor may ask you to undergo further tests in order to determine the root cause of such inflammation in the body. In case of women, it is important to note that CRP levels can also be elevated due to pregnancy or consumption of birth control pills. In such a scenario, telling your doctor about any medical conditions that may affect the test results is a must.
While a C reactive protein test is not the only deciding factor of the overall condition of your heart, it can provide an indication that something is wrong with your body. According to research, certain lifestyle and dietary changes, such as following a Mediterranean diet, are useful in lowering CRP levels. Besides, you should diligently follow the course of treatment as suggested by the doctor in order to keep your CRP levels in control and cardiovascular diseases away.