CRP Tests: Comparative Analysis With Other Inflammation Tests
C-Reaction protein or CRP is a protein found in blood whose concentration increases with an onset of immune response when various bacterial and viral infections kick in. This increase is not only limited to any specific defect caused by a foreign particle or micro-organism & can also increases in response to various diseases caused due to other factors such as age, genetic makeup, mutations, lifestyle, etc. The list of diseases in which CRP has a direct or indirect role is big. The concentration of CRP varies in response to the various stages of these pathological conditions. Since they can be easily detected in the blood, they also serve as an important marker for their diagnosis and prognosis.
Apart from CRP, there are other markers of inflammation which are triggered in response to various abnormal developments in the body. These markers are quite useful in profiling inflammatory responses of our body & thus, various CRP tests have been designed for this purpose:
Silent Inflammation Profile – This test measures the ratio of Arachidonic Acid (AA) to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) in your blood. The Arachidonic acid promotes inflammation while EPA fights it. It’s a rather more precise marker than CRP but unfortunately, testing it is little more complicated.
Fasting insulin levels – These blood tests are given to screen for inflammatory responses to diabetes & heart diseases. Higher insulin levels results in elevated inflammatory responses by the body. This test has narrower diagnostic ability than CRP & is limited to heart diseases.
LDL-Cholesterol profiling – Cholesterol associated arteriosclerosis & cardiovascular complications are the most important factors which effect the concentration of CRP in blood. Atherosclerosis associated vascular & cardio-muscular dystrophy leads to a dramatic rise in CRP levels & has profound effects on the concentrations of CRP. Therefore, LDL-Cholesterol profiling acts as a rough indicator of blood CRP levels & thus provides a rough measure of CRP associated inflammatory responses. This method is largely inaccurate.
ESR profiling – The Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is used as a measure of inflammation & it, along with C-reactive proteins, acts as a marker of body’s inflammatory responses. Generally, ESR levels do not change as rapidly with onset & descent of inflammation as levels of CRP. Moreover, ESR is also affected my many factors, other than inflammation, while CRP is not much affected by any other factor, making it a much better marker for inflammation diagnosis. CRP is thus better than ESR for monitoring rapid changes in inflammation pattern as it does not depend on fibrinogen or immunoglobulin levels, & is not affected by RBC count & shape.
Miscellaneous: To predict risk of heart strokes, tests for cytokine activity, cellular adhesion, interleukin-6, soluble CD60 and intracellular adhesion molecule-1 are also good markers but these tests are either too difficult to perform regularly or may prove too costly for your economical health!
So, CRP testing when combined with results of other diagnostic measures may provide a valuable insight into your body’s current state of health!