What Is an Inflammation Test?

Doctors can determine C-reactive protein levels by drawing blood.
Inflammation tests look for excess protein bodies in the blood.
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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2014
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An inflammation test looks for markers in the blood of an individual to find certain points of inflammation occurring in the body. These tests often look for excess protein bodies in the blood, as excess proteins are usually released from the sites of inflammation and circulated in the blood. By using an inflammation test, physicians can determine the root of a disorder that is brought about by acute inflammation or chronic inflammation, which in turn will aid in treating the condition. Although most inflammation can occur at a cellular level due to an infection or injury, a poor diet with inadequate nutrients and other poor components can also greatly contribute to overall inflammation.

At the site of inflammation within the body, whether stemming from an infection or an injury, excess protein stores are released to help heal the inflammation and bring down the inflammatory response. One test that helps determine whether or not a condition is caused by chronic or acute inflammation is the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which measures the rate of proteins that cover red blood cells. With this inflammation test, a blood sample is taken from an individual and placed in a testing tube with a chemical that quickly stops blood clotting. A high rate of separating blood cells from the plasma indicates inflammation occurring in the body.

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Another popular inflammation test is known as the C-reactive protein test, which measures the amount of C-reactive proteins in the bloodstream. A blood test that finds increasing levels of C-reactive proteins determines that there is inflammation occurring the body, which usually corresponds to current or future adverse health conditions. Normally these tests will lead to a series of treatments that will help stop inflammation at its source. Therefore, an inflammation test can be helpful in stopping a condition before it starts.

When an inflammation test shows high levels, or increasing levels, of certain proteins, a physician might prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to bring down the inflammation and help ease conditions associated with the inflammation. Treating an infection and starting a preventive approach of proper vitamin and nutrient intake can also help decrease inflammation and help heal the inflammatory response. Lowering insulin levels by lowering sugar and refined carbohydrate intake is also recommended by most nutritionists when an inflammation test comes back positive, as high insulin levels contribute to inflammation. Physicians also recommend exercise based on an individual's capabilities to help bring down inflammation.

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