What is CRP?
CRP, or C-reactive protein, is produced in the liver as part of the body's inflammatory response. It is an important marker of inflammation in the body and is often used as a diagnostic test to detect and monitor inflammation in the body.
CRP levels can increase sharply in the blood during acute inflammation, such as during infections, injuries, surgery or autoimmune diseases. CRP can also be used to monitor the treatment of inflammation, for example in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Why analyze CRP?
The CRP value cannot be measured individually to give an answer to a possible disease, but the result needs to be compared to how you feel and results from other possible samples you have taken.
CRP can detect if you have an infection or inflammation in the body, these are two different conditions. Infection is caused by an infectious agent, the most common being bacteria, viruses and fungi. Colds and flu are the most common infections caused by viruses. Other examples are chickenpox, TBE, HPV and covid-19 and more.
Infections caused by bacteria are streptococci with diseases such as strep throat, swine pox and urinary tract infection.
You can also get an infection caused by fungus that is always naturally present on the body without causing any trouble. However, fungi can multiply and then e.g. the immune system or the bacterial flora in the body is affected.
The above condition gives different symptoms depending on where the infection has occurred.
An inflammation is a condition that occurs when the body has reacted to an injury or an attack. Inflammation can also arise from an infection, which is the most common cause. Other causes can be allergies, osteoarthritis, asthma, damage from heat or cold and damage to the body such as e.g. wounds.
Symptoms of an inflammation
Our bodies are affected in different ways during an inflammation, here are some common symptoms from the area where the body has an inflammation:
- the area becomes swollen
- the area turns red or pink
- the area hurts
- the area gets hot.
What can a high value of CRP be due to?
A high CRP value of over 300 mg/L may be due to a strong infection or inflammation. With a common cold, CRP is usually not increased at all or only slightly. If you get a strong viral infection such as influenza, the CRP value can be above 50 mg/L.
A CRP value cannot be too low, but only shows that you do not have any inflammation or infection in the body. In a completely healthy person, CRP is often lower than 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L).