Inflammation in your body can cause a host of medical issues and discomfort - but it is not always easy to find. The CRP blood test detects and measures the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) produced by the liver, revealing hidden inflammation in your body. The higher your CRP, the greater your inflammation.
Chronic vs. Normal Inflammation
When the C-reactive protein binds to specific molecules in the body, it increases production of the inflammatory signaling molecules called cytokines. This is a normal response to "acute" inflammation, such as when you sprain an ankle or undergo surgery. However, the inflammation revealed by an elevated CRP level can also be caused by excessive stress, sedentary lifestyle, the effects of environmental toxins, genetics, and diets high in processed foods.
If your CRP levels do not return to normal after the onset of injury or prolonged stress, "chronic" inflammation sets in, which can slowly wreak havoc and trigger a myriad of health problems. Some studies suggest that chronic internal inflammation in the body might, over time, lead to many other age- and inflammation-related disorders, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Use CRP Blood Tests to Detect Infection and Inflammation
The CRP blood test can typically reveal infections or evaluate for chronic inflammatory conditions that might not be immediately obvious. For example, a CRP test might be ordered after surgery to look for signs of a hidden infection or to track the progress of chronic inflammatory conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease. A high-sensitivity CRP test (hs-CRP) is used to evaluate your risk for coronary heart disease. Studies have shown that higher CRP levels correlate with higher risk of narrowed coronary arteries.
Dr. Randolph and his team of clinicians often recommend a CRP test to detect levels of hidden inflammation in your body. Knowing your CRP level allows you to be proactive in reducing the effects of chronic inflammation through lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, increasing exercise, and taking inflammation-reducing supplements.