C-reactive protein or abbreviated CRP, as it is often referred to, is a blood protein produced in the liver. Its function is reflected in the non-specific defense of the organism against infectious agents and cell degradation products.
It is one of the most sensitive inflammatory markers and a positive reactant of the acute phase. This means that the concentration of CRP in the blood changes, that is, increases, after a very short period of time from the onset of infection, inflammation, trauma, stress, myocardial infarction and other acute conditions.
Blood analysis and CRP
Determination of the concentration of C-reactive protein can be done from a sample of venous blood, usually, or capillary blood, if it is a question of small children or patients with poorly accessible veins. A small amount of blood sample is required for analysis. No special preparation is required before going to the laboratory.
In addition to the standard process of determining CRP from a serum sample, which requires a certain period of time to obtain results, there is an increasingly common and newer process of determining CRP from whole blood, where results can be expected after a few minutes of sampling itself.
CRP in adults
CRP concentrations in the blood of healthy adults do not exceed 10 mg/L. The ideal value, according to many medical experts, is the range of 0.08-6.1mg/L.
Elevated concentrations above 10 mg/L indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in the body, caused by various factors:
Slightly elevated concentrations
They are present in cases of mild inflammation or viral infections most often, while they can be found less often in old people, pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy (as falsely high values), then in smokers or obese people.
As an exception, in some cases, a high value of CRP concentration can occur in flu or infectious mononucleosis, which are also viral infections. Concentrations higher than 100 mg/L can sometimes occur there.
Significantly elevated concentrations
They indicate the presence of active inflammation, which is most often caused by a bacterial infection. This is true for most bacterial infections, however, there are some exceptions that can lead to a greater increase in CRP concentration, over 200 mg/L.
Very high concentrations
Above 200 mg/l
CRP concentrations above 200 mg/l indicate a widespread inflammatory process in the body. This usually happens with severe bacterial infections, but also with trauma.
In addition to evaluating the difference in inflammation caused by bacterial or viral agents, determining the concentration of CRP is useful for checking the existence of organic diseases, in order to evaluate the activity of an inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, then in order to detect infections in systemic lupus erythematosus, leukemia or after surgery. . Its importance is also reflected in the detection of rejection of the transplanted organ or tissue after the transplantation process and in the detection of neonatal septicemia and meningitis.
Lowered CRP concentrations, i.e. values below 10 mg/L, are not clinically significant.