C-reactive protein (CRP) is a serum glycoprotein produced by the liver during any acute inflammation. CRP is detectable within 6-10 hours after the body's inflammatory response and can increase up to 4.000 times when the acute phase inflammatory response is at its peak. Because it disappears rapidly when the inflammation subsides, its detection is indicative of the presence of the inflammatory process. It is the best indicator of the severity of pancreatitis when measured 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. The C-reactive protein has been linked to metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that include abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL (good cholesterol), hypertension and high fasting blood glucose levels. It is now thought that chronic inflammation, as evidenced by chronically elevated levels of C-reactive protein, may be an additional component of metabolic syndrome. CRP measurement can be used as a "tool" to evaluate patients at risk of developing heart disease.
CRP measurement is used to monitor inflammatory processes of rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic fever, to differentiate Crohn's disease (high CRP) from ulcerative colitis (low CRP), to differentiate rheumatoid arthritis (high CRP) from systemic lupus erythematosus (low CRP), as a prognostic indicator of myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease, as an indicator for existing arterial diseases, in detecting the presence or exacerbation of inflammatory processes, and in monitoring the response to treatment of inflammatory conditions. It is a more reliable indicator than ESR for assessing inflammatory conditions. Daily measurement of C-Reactive Protein is an excellent indicator for monitoring the recession of inflammation. A reduction of CRP by 25% or more from the previous day's level indicates a recession of inflammation, with a predictive value of more than 97%.
What Do Pathological Values Mean?
- Increase: Active inflammatory conditions such as, bronchitis, abscess, Crohn's disease, empyema, meningitis, nephritis, pancreatitis (acute), peritonitis, pharyngitis (streptococcal), pneumonia (pneumococcal), rheumatoid arthritis (acute), rheumatic fever (acute), sepsis, urinary tract infection and other infections. Alzheimer's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, Castleman's disease, gout, Graves disease, Hodgkin's disease, Kawasaki disease, lymphoma, malignant tumors, metabolic syndrome, myocardial infarction, myxoma, necrosis, non-Hodgkin's disease, postoperative (first week), pregnancy (after the third month), renal infarction, systemic lupus erythematosus, trauma (surgical), tuberculosis. Medications: Oral contraceptives (false positive).
- Decrease: - Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, steroids, salicylates, statins, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors together with beta-blocker.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.