Can a blood test detect if I have an inflammation?

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The body's immune system works to protect us from harmful microorganisms and foreign substances. If a possible infection or inflammatory reaction is suspected, blood samples are used in many cases to demonstrate the inflammation and contribute to information for further treatment.

CRP - Blood test to detect inflammation

If a doctor suspects that you have inflammation in the body, there are several different blood tests that can be used to prove that this is the case. One of the most common blood tests used is the marker C-reactive protein (CRP), which is popularly known as rapid lowering. The reason for measuring CRP is because your body releases substances such as cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP) as a counter-reaction to ongoing inflammation and/or infection. Elevated levels of CRP thus indicate the presence of inflammation in the body and to some extent also the extent.

Blood samples in case of infection and inflammation

  • Lymphocytes: Lymphocytesis a type of white blood cells that form a central part of the body's immune system. These cells are not born innately, but are created in response to attacks from bacteria, viruses, parasites and other foreign substances. By measuring the lymphocyte count in the blood, you can get an indication of ongoing viral infections and immunodeficiency diseases.
  • Neutrophil Granulocytes: Neutrophil Granulocytes are a type of white blood cells that play an essential role in the body's defense against bacteria. The blood sample can be analyzed for various reasons, including to detect possible imbalances in the distribution of the white blood cells.
  • Eosinophilic Granulocytes: Eosinophilic Granulocytes are a type of white blood cell needed to fight bacteria and other parasites that the other white blood cells cannot manage. These cells also play a role in inducing inflammation in the tissue associated with injuries. The blood sample is usually analyzed to find out if there is an imbalance in the distribution of the white blood cells. The sample is also used in investigations to analyze the possible presence of asthma or allergies.

There are also several other markers that can be effective to analyze to assess the degree of inflammation in the body. But the most common analysis is a CRP test.

What should a normal CRP be?

The level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood can vary depending on various factors, including age, gender and individual health. Generally speaking, however, the following ranges are considered to be indicative of normal CRP levels:

  • Normal CRP level: Values below 3 mg/L milligrams per liter.
  • Elevated CRP level: Values between 3 - 15 mg/L milligrams per liter.
  • High CRP level: Values above >15 mg/L liter are often considered high.

It is important to note that the CRP value is individual from person to person and that a single value cannot be identified if you have a specific disease. For example, an ongoing cold (virus infection) can give rise to a slightly increased value in some cases and sometimes hardly any increase at all.

What is a high CRP value?

In the case of a more severe infection by a virus such as influenza, it is common to have a CRP value above approximately 50 mg/L. In pneumonia caused by bacteria, higher CRP levels >100 mg/L are often measured.

How do I know if I have an inflammation?

Even if you do not have the opportunity to conduct a blood test, there are several signs and symptoms that can indicate the presence of inflammation in the body. It is important to remember that the symptoms may vary depending on the type and location of the inflammation. Here are some common signs of inflammation:

  • Swelling: Inflammation can cause swelling in the affected area. This is because the immune system increases blood flow to the area to fight harmful substances.
  • Redness: Inflammation can result in redness in the area due to increased blood flow and dilation of the blood vessels.
  • Heat: The inflamed area may feel warmer than surrounding areas due to the increased blood circulation.
  • Pain: Pain is a common symptom of inflammation, especially when tissue becomes irritated or damaged. The pain can be both localized and more diffuse.
  • Functional impairment: Inflammation can affect function in the affected area. For example, an inflamed joint may be stiff or difficult to move.
  • Fever: An increase in body temperature can be a sign of systemic inflammation, where the whole body responds to an infection or inflammation.
  • Fatigue: Systemic inflammation can also cause general fatigue and a feeling of sickness.
  • It is important to note that the above symptoms are not specific to inflammation and can also occur in other diseases or conditions as well. If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about your health, you should seek medical advice.

    Blood samples and the immune system

    In summary, blood samples have a unique ability to give us profound insights into the body's immune function and its response to various threats. Blood tests give us the opportunity to read changes in the body and detect any deviations that may be signs of an ongoing disease, infection, inflammation and body functionality.

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