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CRP screening Tests

CRP screening Tests

C reactive protein (CRP) test- if I could only have one test of my current state of health this is the one I would choose. Why?

 

CRP is an 'acute phase protein' - present in the blood to a significant degree (that is greater than 5mg/l) only when there is active inflammation, of some type, somewhere in the body. Finding a normal level of CRP therefore is very reassuring if you are suspecting significant disease which involves inflammation - choose from a very long list including bacterial and fungal infection, many cancers, autoimmune diseases, and general inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease of the bowel. Whilst not being a specific enough test to enable accurate diagnosis of a particular condition, a high CRP will back up a clinical suspicion in many instances.

 

CRP rises rapidly in the blood during any inflammatory event, to easily detectable levels. The quantity also declines quickly once the cause is corrected, so CRP levels can be, and often are, used as a marker of progress towards cure or maintenance of the disease, especially of chronic conditions such as Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

 

More recently, smaller background rises in CRP have been looked at in the context of increased risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease. As many laboratories do not routinely record levels below 5mg/l, a more accurate test is available - known as the High Sensitivity CRP (HiS CRP) test. The American Heart Association recently concluded that having a level below 1mg/l is regarded as low risk, between 1 and 3 average risk, and greater than 3mg/l high risk - of heart disease. But because CRP is elevated in potentially many scenarios, this finding should not be taken in isolation, and should be followed up over time and alongside other indicators of risk of heart disease - such as cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking and so on.

 

Are there any cautions? Well yes. As with all forms of testing there are downsides. Some viral illnesses will not trigger a significant rise in CRP, neither will some cancers or autoimmune conditions. Having a low CRP level does not guarantee good health, particularly of course if symptoms or signs are pointing towards something being not right.

 

But as a general marker of overall health, few tests come close to the relatively humble CRP.

 

C Reactive Protein is available as part of our PLUS V and PLUS X health screens.
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Other Blood Testing Services by Blue Horizon Medicals.
All of the services outlined above rely on the postal service not just to send the kits to you, but also to get your blood back to the Laboratory.This is fine for the majority of tests on this website but sometimes a test that you require will have special handling requirements such as freezing, a need to be spun down by a centrifuge, or have a need for immediate testing. In these situations, and also where turnaround time cannot be reliant on the postal service we recommend that you speak to us about the other services that we can offer you. For speed we recommend our London Service, but we have some good profiles available through 60 Spire and BMI Hospitals across the UK.
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