Poly myalgia rheumatica and C-Reactive Protein
Formally called the C-Reactive Protein test it is also known as CRP.
The CRP test is useful in assessing a range of patients usually with some kind of poly myalgia rheumatica or another inflammatory disorder, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Some forms of arthritis
- Autoimmune diseases
CRP can be used as a screening procedure to check healthy individuals for the above conditions. However, usually in these cases, a more sensitive test called hs-CRP will be ordered:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Coronary heart disease (CHD)
The CRP test is not specific enough to diagnose a particular disease, it is used as a general marker to indicate infection and inflammation in the body, it can help the medical practitioner to know when its necessary to perform further testing and treatment.
When is it ordered?
Because CRP is elevated in cases of inflammation, the test is ordered whenever acute inflammation is a risk (such as post surgery infection) or if needed based on patients presenting symptoms. It is also administered in inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. CRP can be very helpful because of its close relationship to inflammation.
What does the test result mean?
A high CRP in your blood indicates that you have an acute infection or inflammation.
If the CRP levels in your blood decrease or drop, it means that the inflammation in your body is reducing.
Is there anything else I should know?
CRP levels can also be elevated in the late stages of pregnancy, with use of the birth control pill and with hormone replacement therapy. There are also elevated levels with the obese.
Another test called the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is also used to monitor inflammation. Both CRP and ESR will be elevated with inflammation, however CRP is faster to respond to changes in inflammation, while ESR is a little slower.