How can I lower the CRP

Inflammation Levels: What They Say About Your Life

Persistent tiredness and pain can indicate inflammation in the body. Based on the inflammation values ​​in our blood, we can find out about them - and take countermeasures at an early stage.

In the case of acute illnesses, there is hardly a visit to the doctor without the determination of the inflammation parameters. However, it often looks different: In the case of permanent weakness, pain or depression, even medical professionals hardly think of inflammation as the cause. It is becoming increasingly clear that even with complaints that at first glance have nothing to do with inflammatory processes, inflammation can play a role. In fact, inflammatory causes are found for an increasing number of diseases - for example with arteriosclerosis, heart attack, COPD, chronic pain and even with neurological diseases such as dementia. Some health professionals are even certain: inflammation is the root cause of aging.

It is therefore worthwhile to keep an eye on your inflammation values. It is not easy to interpret them correctly, especially in the case of so-called silent inflammations. Find out in this article what to look out forwhich are the most important inflammation values ​​and which values ​​are still normal.

The inflammation values ​​in the blood: CRP, ESR and leukocytes

In order to obtain information about whether an acute inflammation is present in the body, these three laboratory values ​​are most often determined:

  • CRP (C-reactive protein)

  • ESR (sedimentation rate)

  • Number of leukocytes (white blood cells)

Often all three values ​​are increased at the same time. Another parameter in the blood can be used to differentiate bacterial and viral infections: the acute phase protein procalcitonin. Procalcitonin is particularly important in the diagnosis of bacterial blood poisoning.

All inflammation values ​​at a glance

Inflammation values: The following standard values ​​apply to adults:

  • CRP: 5 mg / l or 0.5 mg / dl

  • ESR> 50 years: 25 mm / h (women) or 20 mm / h (men)

  • ESR <50 years: 20 mm / h (women) or 15 mm / h (men)

  • White blood cells: 4 - 10 x 109 / l or 4,000 - 10,000 / μl

(The values ​​can vary depending on the analytical method used in the laboratory.)

Important information on the interpretation of the inflammation values:

  • Do not be unsettled by deviating values. Ask a doctor to explain your values ​​to you personally.

  • A single laboratory parameter for interpretation is not very meaningful. Better: assess the course based on several values.

  • Be sure to pay attention to the units in which the results are reported.

  • The results can vary from laboratory to laboratory.

  • Individual fluctuations are not automatically to be equated with inflammation and / or illness. It can e.g. B. natural fluctuations occur according to the time of day or season.

CRP (C-reactive protein): Most important inflammatory value

Doctors attach the greatest importance to the so-called CRP among the inflammation parameters. The observation of several values ​​in the course is particularly meaningful. CRP is an endogenous protein and is produced in the liver.

In a healthy adult, the values ​​are below 5 mg / l or 0.5 mg / dl. In severe infections and burns, the CRP values ​​can rise to 400 mg / l. CRP provides particularly clear indications of inflammation: before body temperature (fever) and leukocytes react, the CRP increase in the blood can already be measured. If inflammation was found, repeated CRP measurements also show how well the therapy is working. Is z. B. given the right antibiotic in acute inflammation, the CRP goes down.

ESR sedimentation rate: Limited significance

The rate of sedimentation provides information on whether inflammatory processes are taking place in the body. However, it is often replaced by other more specific tests, such as: B. by determining the CRP. The sedimentation rate (synonyms: BKS, ESG) measures the rate at which the red blood cells (erythrocytes) sink in the blood. When there is inflammation, the red blood cells cluster together so that they settle more quickly. In combination with other inflammation values, the determination of the ESR can make sense, but in no case does the ESR alone lead to a diagnosis.

ESR reference values ​​of a healthy adult person

Gender, ageWomen <50 yearsWomen> 50 yearsMen <50 yearsMen> 50 years
BSG20mm / h25mm / h15mm / h20mm / h

The ESR is usually also determined in clinical practice, but the CRP measurement has more informative value and sensitivity.

What does it mean if the ESR values ​​are too high?

Regardless of illness, the ESR can naturally be slightly increased in some cases, e.g. B. when taking hormonal contraceptives (pill), during pregnancy, during menstruation and after an operation. The ESR can be increased in all types of inflammation:

  • <50 mm / h: Anemia, acute and chronic inflammation, increase in blood lipid levels

  • 50 - 100 mm / h: Liver and kidney diseases, rheumatic diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), infections

  • > 100 mm / h: z. B. in blood poisoning, autoimmune diseases with vascular inflammation (e.g. polymyalgia rheumatica)

Leukocytes: how stressed is our immune system?

When our immune system is stressed by inflammatory processes, it happens, among other things. by the increased release of white blood cells to fight the pathogens. So if the white blood cell count is high, it usually indicates an infection or an inflammatory disease. The Normal values ​​of the white blood cell count depend on age:

AgeSI unit in I.old unit in µI
Newborn9 - 30 * 10 9 / I9,000 - 30,000 / µI
Toddlers6 - 17.5 * 10 9 / I6,000 - 17,500 / µI
School children5 - 15 * 10 9 / I5,000 - 15,000 / µI
Adults4 - 10 * 10 9 / I4,000 - 10,000 / µI

What do high white blood cell counts mean?

The number of white blood cells (leukocytes) can increase severe inflammation increase to up to 30,000 / µl, in leukemia even higher. The leukocytes can also show a value that is too low (med. Leukopenia). If there are too many or too few leukocytes in our blood, this can have various causes:

White blood cells too high? Possible reference to ...

  • Inflammation (mainly bacterial)
  • leukemia
  • after removal of the spleen
  • Tumors
  • Autoimmune disease
  • pregnancy
  • Smoke
  • Heart attack
  • Idiopathic leukocytosis (chronically high white blood cell count for no apparent reason)

Leukocytes Too Low? Possible reference to ...

  • Inflammation (mainly caused by viruses)
  • Anemia
  • Overactive spleen
  • Immunosuppression (suppression of the immune system by e.g. chemotherapeutic agents): <2000 / µl there is a risk of infection

Initial, persistent, or subsiding inflammation?

In order to gain more precise knowledge of the phase of the disease, a so-called Differential blood count be made. Here, the white blood cells are divided into their individual subgroups in the laboratory (neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes and monocytes). With this subdivision, doctors can determine how long illnesses have existed, e.g. B. At the beginning of an inflammation, the number of neutrophils is particularly high. Certain results also give indications of typical diseases, e.g. B. the eosinophilic granulocytes are particularly increased in worm diseases.

Silent inflammation: only these inflammation values ​​are meaningful (CRP, AA / EPA quotient, homocysteine)

While the aforementioned five signs of inflammation are usually visible in acute inflammation (especially pain), silent inflammation can remain hidden for years. However, silent inflammations can often be recognized by typical signs - the sickness behavior: exhaustion, listlessness (work, social activities), lack of concentration, withdrawal and listlessness. Have a particular risk of developing silent inflammation Smokers, people who are overweight (especially belly fat), people with chronic sleep disorders, high stress levels, a diet with many industrial products, low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, e.g. B. from linseed oil or fish, little fruit and vegetables and lack of exercise. Environmental factors such as fine dust and constant use of medication also promote silent inflammation.

While the CRP value z. B. in flu-like infections can rise to over 100 mg / l, the blood count often shows no abnormalities in silent inflammation. Typical for silent inflammations: the CRP value is not noticeably high. It is often within the reference range - but in the long term rather in the upper normal range of 5 mg / l.

In order to measure a silent inflammation in the blood, the so-called also comes AA / EPA quotient in question. This measures that Relationship between pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids (AA: arachidonic acid) and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (EPA: eicosapentaenoic acid) in our blood. Put simply, it reflects the body's readiness for inflammation. The optimal values ​​of the AA / EPA quotient are <4. The higher the quotient, the higher the risk of the consequences of silent inflammation in various organs1.

This gives another indication of silent inflammation Homocysteine, a substance in the metabolism that is completely broken down in healthy people. Above all, vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid) and vitamin B12 are necessary for its breakdown. The normal homocysteine ​​level in adults is 6-12 µmol / l. In the long term, homocysteine ​​damages the vascular wall cells and primarily leads to arteriosclerotic diseases such as strokes, coronary heart disease and venous thrombosis.

Fighting Inflammation From Within: Read more about what to do about silent inflammation in this article.

Photo credit: Branislav-Nenin / Shutterstock.com