Measuring low grade inflammation

Inflammation is a natural reaction to injury or infection and drives the bodies healing mechanisms to resolve the damage or clear the invading bug.

However, in certain disease states inflammation may be abnormally high as part of the disease process itself and these can be detected through routine blood tests such as standard CRP (C-reactive protein) and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) tests. Such test are often used to monitor the disease intensity or it’s response to therapy.

Conversely, people with more chronic non-acute health problems can suffer from low grade inflammation that is not detectable through standard CRP or ESR tests but, if left unchecked have been associated with the progression of certain chronic health concerns.

To help people positively influence such problems, and manage their lifestyle and diet better, we can offer the high sensitivity CRP blood test (from a finger prick sample) known as hs-CRP.

For example, it has been shown that those with a very high hs-CRP result have 2-4 times the risk of developing atherosclerosis compared to those much lower results. By employing nutritional and life style approaches the test results can also be used to monitor a person’s health establishing whilst at the same time checking on the effectiveness of any recommended dietary and lifestyle changes.

In other words, a person can use a follow up test to see if a change in diet and lifestyle has impacted and reduce the low grade inflammation after about 3 months from the first test.

Having a raised hs-CRP is not itself hazardous to the body but it may predict low grade inflammation that a person is physically unaware of.

It is important to note that a person with an established infection or inflammatory condition such as as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) would not probably benefit from testing for hs-CPR as the levels will be significantly elevated and will not offer any additional insight.

Conditions associated with low grade inflammation

  • Allergies and sinusitis
  • Asthma, emphysema and bronchitis
  • Attention deficit disorder and autism
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Inflammatory liver disease
  • Neurogenerative diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sinusitis

Medication and its impact on hs-CRP measurement

Some medications, such as statins and steroids, will affect the results.

If possible, it is recommended to stop the use of asthma inhalers and topical steroid preparations 7 days prior to a test, but not without seeking medical advice first.

Some NSAIDs such as naproxen and lumiracoxib may also affect results and high dose aspirin may lower the levels, although this has not been noted at lower levels.

Cost: £40.00

Marcus Webb

Marcus Webb

Osteopath (GOsC Registered)
Naturopath (GCRN Registered)
Medical Acupuncturist (BMAS Registered)

Marcus qualified in 1988 from the British College of Osteopathic medicine (formally the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy) and has been in full time practice since graduation.

He has a special professional interest in the nutritional management of osteoporosis and chronic pain disorders using medical acupuncture.

Marcus does not include cranial osteopathy nor paediatric osteopathy within his scope of practice.