C-Reactive Protein test : important for coronary artery disease ?

The C-reactive protein test measures the concentration of a protein in serum that indicates acute inflammation. Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band or blood pressure cuff is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the band to swell with blood.

A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

CRP is detected with the use of antiserum (serum that contains antibodies for a particular antigen) in several tests that measure the protein and protein-bound molecules.

How to prepare for the C-Reactive Protein test

No preparation is necessary for the C-Reactive Protein test. When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

The C-reactive protein (CRP) is a special type of protein produced by the liver that is only present during episodes of acute inflammation. The most important role of CRP is its interaction with the complement system, which is one of the body's immunologic defense mechanisms.

While the C-Reactive Protein test is not a specific test, it does give a general indication of acute inflammation. Your health care provider might use this test to check for rheumatoid arthritis or rheumatic fever flare-ups. The test might also be useful to monitor response to therapy.

However, even in instances of inflammation in rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erthematosus, the CRP levels may not always be elevated. The reason for this is not known at this time. Thus, a low CRP level does not always mean that there is no inflammation present.

Studies have shown that high levels of this inflammation is an accurate predictor of future heart problems, and according to papers presented at the American Stroke Association held on the 14 - 16th Feb 2001 it was shown that elevated levels of this marker more than double the risk of a stroke.

A positive C-Reactive Protein test may indicate any of a number of things:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Myocardial infarction

Preventing the negative consequences of a positive C-Reactive Protein test is important. Fish oil will help naturally reduce inflammation of the blood as will ginger and MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in some vegetables. It is also common in many arthritis formulas.

Our personal approach to prevent the negative consequences of a positive C-Reactive Protein test


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