Everything About C-reactive Protein: The idea of visiting a hospital to do any kind of health test can be anxiety-inducing for many people. Even if you are leading a perfectly healthy and careful lifestyle, you may feel nervous at the idea of the results. Society conditions us to always associate fear with the word ‘test’, thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Perhaps this is why most of us try to live in ignorance, not wanting to go out of our way to learn more about ourselves, in fear of what we may find.
However, while this thought process might bring temporary relief, it cannot be a permanent solution. As invincible as we may think we are, human lives are fragile and they need to be looked after. It is your responsibility to make good, healthy decisions for your mind, body and soul because you are responsible for your own happiness.
This also means overcoming that hesitation of doing tests and check-ups, so you are aware of all the things happening inside of you. Doing bodily tests such as blood tests is important so that you know where your body stands on the road to good health and what you can do to make sure that it keeps going ahead.
When doing a blood test, there are many components that your doctor focuses on, each of them indicating a different function of your body. Your body is an intricate machine which works excellently because all these components collaborate. There are some which you may know, such as blood sugar levels, haemoglobin, etc. while others you may have no idea about.
Today, we are going to talk about one such less-known but still just an as important component of your body: the C-reactive protein (CRP).
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein produced by the liver, whose levels are an indicator of inflammation in the body. When your tissues get injured or infected, your body triggers an inflammatory response to protect them. When this happens, C-reactive protein, as a part of acute-phase reactants, is sent through your bloodstream.
If you have higher C-reactive protein as compared to the normal C-reactive protein range, it means that you might have inflammation somewhere in your body, either as a result of an infection or a more serious condition, such as cancer or increased risk of a heart attack.
Hence, finding out your C-reactive protein level is essential for either detecting inflammation caused by acute conditions or to find the severity of chronic conditions. If your doctor deems it necessary, they will ask you to do a C-reactive protein test for the same.
To understand more about C-reactive protein, you need to learn about the normal C-reactive protein range. Your CRP levels are measured in terms of milligrams of CRP per litre of blood (mg/L). Levels of CRP can indicate your risk for cardiovascular diseases i.e. heart diseases.
CRP levels are usually calculated through hs-CRP test i.e. High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test. Following are the different levels of C-reactive protein and what they mean:
1. If you have a hs-CRP level of less than 1 mg/L, it means you are at low risk of cardiovascular diseases.
2. If you have a hs-CRP level between 1 mg/L and 3 mg/L, it means you are at moderate risk of cardiovascular diseases.
3. If you have a hs-CRP level of more than 3 mg/L, it means you are at high risk of cardiovascular disease
A hs-CRP level that is higher than 10 mg/L may indicate a more serious condition such as severe infection, chronic disease or trauma. This may lead to your doctor ordering more tests to be done to find the exact cause behind the inflammation. hs-CRP levels that are higher than 10 mg/L may indicate certain conditions such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pneumonia, cancer, etc.
A C-reactive protein test is a simple procedure in which blood is drawn from a vein. Your doctor will instruct you on what you should do before your test in terms of eating or fasting, depending on if you are doing other tests along with your CRP test.
When you are taken inside for the test, a nurse will first clean the skin over the chosen vein using an antiseptic, after which an elastic band will be tied around your arm to bulge out the vein. The medical practitioner in charge will then insert a needle in the vein and transfer the blood to a clean vial. This sample of blood will then be tested for CRP levels.
Keep in mind that a C-reactive protein test is a non-specific test which does not point towards a specific diagnosis. It is used as a biomarker i.e. a factor that your doctor will consider along with other factors like other medical conditions, other test results, family health history, etc. After keeping all these details in mind, a specific diagnosis will be done.
A C-reactive protein test may be ordered for a variety of reasons, such as checking risk of cardiovascular disease, riks of complications in pregnancy, etc. Hence, it is not a stand-alone element but one that is considered along with others to see the bigger picture.
You can work towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle to try and keep your CRP levels in control. Of course, just having a lower CRP does not eliminate all risk of diseases, but it will certainly be one more step in the road towards good health.
A proper well-balanced diet with minimal greasy junk food can work wonders in the way your body functions. Vitamin C has also been observed as a possible factor in lowering CRP levels for those who are at more risk of cardiovascular diseases. Probiotics might also help lower CRP levels.
Thus, the key is to practice healthy habits in your life so that you can be happier overall, not just in terms of C-reactive protein levels.
Self-care is a gradual process that has its highs and lows. Somedays, it will be easier to make the healthier decision while other days, you may give in to sugary temptation. The trick is to keep going no matter what and preserve on this road of fitness and growth.
Remember that you are your friend on this journey and not an enemy. Instead of shaming yourself and making yourself feel guilty, try to use positive reinforcements and encouragements to keep walking. After all, taking care of yourself is no easy task and the fact that you have decided to embark on this journey itself is very, very brave! We, at The Voice Of The Woman, are very proud of you for doing the same.