C-Reactive Protein Test Results – What To Pay Attention To?
A C-reactive protein test is a blood test that is used to determine whether or not there is inflammation in the body. A heart attack can cause elevated C-reactive protein levels, but there are many other causes. Infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and lupus are just a few other causes of elevated C-reactive protein. The C-reactive protein test is a general test, not specific to heart conditions. Doctors may order this test to evaluate inflammatory diseases or to monitor the effectiveness of medications used to treat them.
C-reactive protein test results may vary from laboratory to laboratory. You doctor may order a more sensitive C-reactive protein test known as a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein assay. An elevated number on this test is considered by some to be one of the risk factors for heart disease. At this point, it is unclear whether elevated C-reactive protein is a result of heart disease or if it predisposes a person to heart disease. In any case, inflammation in the body is not desirable.
If you are concerned about heart disease, you will also want to monitor your good and bad cholesterol. A blood test is ordered to check cholesterol levels. Bad cholesterol sticks to the walls of your blood vessels and become plaque, making them narrower. Cholesterol can be managed with diet and exercise. In some cases, medication is necessary. If the coronary arteries become narrow or blocked because of plaque, the heart cannot pump blood properly. This is known as congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure symptoms include feeling out of breath even with minimal exertion and feeling short of breath when you lie down. Swelling can occur in the hands, feet, and abdominal area. Coughing worsens when lying down. Nausea, fatigue, heart palpitations and dizziness are additional symptoms. If you have these symptoms call your doctor.