Q: Is CRP 14 mg/L a normal level if I’m having joint pain?

Question:

I’m having joint pain and the CRP test value is 14 mg/l. Is it a normal level?

Answer:

The short answer is No, CRP value of 14 mg/l is not normal but it is not high enough to tell that you have ongoing chronic inflammation, but can tell that the inflammation is fading or weak infection or just a false value that is should be higher, and details are below…

If you test high-sensitive-CRP the normal level is up to 3, hence the 14 is 4 times higher than normal
but if the CRP test is done with the latex method the normal is up to 10, hence 14 is mildly elevated.

CRP levels will rise rapidly within the first 6 to 8 hours after the onset of acute infection and inflammations and CRP reading decrease quickly about 19 hours (a half-life) after initiation of a successful treatment course, and therefore it is a better helpful tool for bacterial infections and antibiotic treatments.

Another thing is that the CRP test may go up too much if there is a tissue inflammation flare-up like in rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.

What causes CRP levels to be slightly higher than normal without inflammation?

  1. Obesity
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Cigarette smoking
  4. Diabetes

Because CRP is not specific to RA, some people with RA may have normal CRP levels, many other tests can predict the reasons for joint pain better than the general inflammatory markers like the CRP test, such joint pain tests may include:

  1. ACCP and RF tests: which used for investigation if the joint pain is due to rheumatoid arthritis disease.
  2. Sed Rate test: is a better indicator for chronic inflammatori episodes than CRP test.
  3. Uric acid test: which indicating how high is the uric acid in the bloodm which means their are too much uric acid in the blood that can deposit in the joints and cause inflammation and painful sensation, medically called Gout.
  4. Thyroid tests: to investigate if there is Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) which responsible for some kind of joint inflammation.
  5. ANA test: to predict if you have any sign of abnormal immunity behaviour or not?
  6. LE cells and dsDNA tests: used for predecting the lupus erythromatosus disease.

X-ray imaging is the first step for diagnosis of joint pain, and using the blood tests comes after that to complete, approve, or exclude the etiological causes.

What causes false-negative CRP levels?

What causes a mild increase in CRP levels while it should be higher?

Certain medicines can falsely cause CRP levels in the blood to be lower than normal or become lower than they should be. These include taking antibiotics, aspirin, steroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) {which are widely used for relieving pain, reduce inflammation, and bring down a high temperature}.

Types of NSAIDs include:

  • ibuprofen.
  • naproxen.
  • diclofenac.
  • celecoxib.
  • mefenamic acid.
  • etoricoxib.
  • indomethacin.

Dr.Megan Ralf

A Medical laboratory Scientist who devoted his life to medical and laboratory sciences, writes his everyday expertise dealing with various pathological conditions through laboratory diagnosis of different body fluids, also participating in many workshops for first aids, infection control, and urgent care. Also Dr Megan Ralf coaching many medical teams.

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