inflammation 526


What is hs-CRP?



hs-CRP stands for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and is a so-called acute phase reactant. This means that its levels rapidly increase in response to inflammation, deriving from an inflammatory process in itself, an infection or injury. hs-CRP is a protein produced by the liver, and acts both as a test and a biomarker. As a biomarker, it can indicate inflammation, although that does not give you any specifics on why or from where the inflammation derives.

As a test, hs-CRP it is a more sensitive test for detecting inflammation than a CRP test, allowing for detection of very small CRP amounts in blood.

Low hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) levels indicate low levels of systemic inflammation in your body, suggesting better overall health and lower risk of developing multiple types of medical conditions and diseases.

Measuring CRP with a higher sensitivity, means that the test will detect even smaller amounts of C-reactive protein than in a normal CRP test. Being the perhaps most commonly used marker of inflammation, CRP can be used to track and evaluate progression of diseases and conditions causing inflammation, as well as monitoring effectiveness of treatment for all sorts of inflammatory conditions.

Testing it with high sensitivity however, enables for measuring very low levels of CRP, too low for a regular CRP test to detect. This is useful in a health proactive and risk assessing setting, since it is known that the higher the level of systemic inflammation, the higher the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes over time.

Measuring hs-CRP, learning your systemic inflammatory status, can therefore also be used in assessing the risk of developing heart disease.

Important note: Although risk for disease is correlated to higher levels of CRP, normal (low) CRP alone does not automatically rule out any presence of inflammation or disease.



Low levels hs-CRP



Low hs-CRP levels suggests no or very little inflammation in the body, which indicates a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.




High levels hs-CRP



High hs-CRP levels indicate that there is inflammation in your body. How prominent that inflammation is, is partly determined by the level of hs-CRP. Always bear in mind, however, that you can show elevated hs-CRP levels for a number of reasons, and that the value needs to be interpreted by a healthcare provider to understand the implications and potential needs for further investigation.
Generally speaking, chronically elevated levels of hs-CRP (above 3mg/L) are linked to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. This derives from chronic inflammation causing damage to blood vessels, increasing the risk for blood clots and atherosclerosis.
Causes behind properly increased levels of hs-CRP (above 10mg/L) include infections, inflammatory conditions and certain types of cancer. High levels are also seen in people with obesity, who are smoking or living an overall sedentary and physically inactive life. It is therefore recommended to analyze risk of cardiovascular disease with caution when showing levels above 10mg/L.