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Should you monitor this chronic inflammation marker?
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
Think twice before getting a C-reactive protein test on your own.
Chronic inflammation is the common denominator in many diseases, and you might be tempted to get a blood test to gauge your risk. It’s easy enough: in many states, certain labs will test you for an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein (CRP) without an order from your doctor. Just be careful. Self-ordered CRP tests come with some real pitfalls.
What is CRP testing?
CRP is a protein your liver makes when it senses injury, infection, or inflammation in the body. The protein helps the immune system heal the injury or fight the infection.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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Chronic inflammation plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s. This report will examine the role that chronic inflammation plays in these conditions, and will also provide information on the breadth of drugs currently available to alleviate symptoms. Drug choices range from simple aspirin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that’s been available for more than a century, to disease-modifying drugs and so-called biologics that promise more targeted treatments.
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