Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: Does post-herpetic neuralgia raise C-reactive protein?

Q. Can a prolonged period of post-herpetic neuralgia (an aftermath of shingles) elevate C-reactive protein?

A. C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of several proteins made by the liver and released into the bloodstream during episodes of inflammation. Blood levels of CRP rise in response to infection, both acute and chronic (periodontal disease, for example); chronic inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis; and some forms of cancer.

Tests of CRP levels are not specific enough to diagnose a particular disease. Rather, they're markers of infection or inflammation somewhere in the body. Because CRP levels go up quickly when inflammation develops and drop when it goes away, CRP testing may be used for monitoring treatment. You may also have heard of a high-sensitivity CRP test (hs-CRP). When considered along with risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking, hs-CRP levels can be used to assess the likelihood of cardiovascular disease risk in healthy people.

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