Why should I test my hsCRP value?
Cardiovascular diseases are among the most common causes of death in the Western world – above all heart attacks and strokes. However, these diseases do not usually develop overnight. They are often preceded by inflammation in the body, which, in turn, leads to arteriosclerosis – when your blood vessels harden.
Lifestyle plays an important role in your cardiovascular health. Factors such as obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption damage the health of your vessels in the long run. But your genes also play a key role in your risk of developing heart diseases – meaning that risk levels are different for each individual.
How exactly cardiovascular diseases develop is therefore complex, and no two people are alike. This is why it’s recommended to get an idea of your personal risk by measuring your hsCRP value. This inflammation value is considered an early warning sign for arteriosclerosis – and might be the push you need to make some vital lifestyle changes or to make an appointment with a doctor.
Please talk to your doctor about any abnormal results.
Who should take the CRP Blood Test?
The cerascreen® CRP Blood Test is useful for anyone who wants to find out more about their own cardiovascular health.
For example, the test is also fascinating for people with a family history of cardiovascular disease. If there is a family history, you may be at greater risk of developing cardiovascular issues.
If you can personally tick off other risk factors for arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure or poor cholesterol levels, you would benefit from taking this test. People who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol are also at greater risk of bad cardiovascular health.
Last but not least, the hsCRP levels are insightful for people who already have cardiovascular diseases – it allows you to monitor your heart health. Doctors also measure your hsCRP levels for this purpose; they use it to decide which treatment you might need next.
How does the CRP Blood Test work?
To carry out the CRP Blood Test, take a small blood sample from your fingertip with one of the lancets provided in the test kit. Extract a few drops of blood and collect them on the dried blood spot card – this way, you only have to take a very small amount of blood, and the sample can be stored for a long time.
Send your sample free of charge to our specialised medical laboratory in the return envelope. The laboratory analyses how high the concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) is in your blood. Since this lab procedure can also detect smaller deviations of the protein, it is also called high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP).
After the lab analysis, you will receive a notification, after which you’ll be able to access your results report by logging in on our website or on the My cerascreen® app.
When should I take the sample?
Measuring your hsCRP level, which is supposed to give an assessment of your cardiovascular risk, only makes sense if you are healthy at the time of taking the sample. This is because many illnesses, such as the flu, colds and other infectious diseases, increase your CRP level and would thus falsify the results.
What will the results tell me?
The results report of our CRP Blood Test tells you the concentration of the highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP).
You will find out in which reference range your test result is. The hsCRP in this test is measured in milligrammes per decilitre of blood (mg/dl).
< 3 mg/dl: low risk of cardiovascular disease
> 3 mg/dl: increased risk of cardiovascular disease
The result is not in itself a definite diagnosis of disease. However, you can use it to make lifestyle changes or make an appointment to visit your doctor, if necessary.
Which recommendations will I receive?
If your hsCRP levels are in the higher range, we recommend that you contact your doctor for possible further diagnoses – especially, if you are experiencing particular symptoms at the same time.
We also give you a number of dietary and lifestyle recommendations that can help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, studies* have shown that exercise and physical activity can improve hsCRP levels, and therefore probably reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
* Source: Swardfager, W., Herrmann, N., Cornish, S., Mazereeuw, G., Marzolini, S., Sham, L., Lanctôt, K. L., ‘Exercise intervention and inflammatory markers in coronary artery disease:
A meta-analysis’, American Heart Journal,
vol. 163(4), 2012, pp. 666–676.e3
What is the hsCRP level?
C-reactive proteins (CRP) are certain proteins that are produced in the liver. They play a role in our immune system and mainly protect our cell walls from damage caused by injuries and diseases.
If you suffer from an inflammatory disease, the concentration of CRP in your blood increases. Injuries and operations also lead to higher CRP levels. That is why CRP is a measurement that doctors use to examine infectious diseases such as appendicitis, pneumonia or pancreatitis, but also rheumatic diseases and the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s disease, among others.
Highly sensitive CRP (hsCRP), on the other hand, makes it possible to detect even small changes in the concentration of the protein. The results of this more sensitive measurement have been linked in studies primarily to cardiovascular disease. High levels of this protein were found in people who had poor cardiovascular health or who suffered from type 2 diabetes, for example. The hsCRP value is also measured in people who have already had illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke – it allows such people to monitor their health closely.
For which diseases is hsCRP higher than normal?
hsCRP levels are not only high when it comes to cardiovascular diseases arteriosclerosis. Infectious diseases – from a simple cold to severe pneumonia – can also strongly influence the value.
In addition, hsCRP can be high if you have the following chronic disease:
- rheumatic diseases
- obesity (high body mass index)
- metabolic syndrome
- type 2 diabetes
What can I do to reduce my hsCRP level?
You should have high inflammation levels examined by a doctor to clarify possible diseases that could be behind the inflammation.
You can also help to reduce your cardiovascular risk yourself. This includes, above all, lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, weight loss if you are overweight, less mental stress and giving up cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption.
Who should NOT take the CRP Blood Test?
The CRP Blood Test is not or only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
- People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not use the CRP Blood Test.
- People with haemophilia should not take the test.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the CRP Blood Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
- The CRP Blood Test is not intended for children under 18 years of age.
The test is not intended for diagnosing illnesses or disease. For example, if you suffer from moderate pain, pressure in your chest, or you regularly struggle for breath, consult a doctor.