Inflammatory #2 Essential Blood Test Panel
This Inflammatory #2 Essential Blood Test Panel screens for inflammation caused by certain cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body's immune system response to an irritant, such as a bacteria, virus, or due to injury. The body combats these irritants by releasing inflammatory mediators (bradykinin and histamine hormones). As a result, mucus membranes release more fluid to flush out irritants. This response can result in a runny nose or fluid entering tissue and causing swelling.
There are two types of inflammation:
- Acute inflammation – the body's immune system responds to sudden injury or illness, such as a cut, by sending inflammatory cells to initiate the healing process.
- Chronic inflammation – the body sends inflammatory cells to attack without a trigger, like an illness or injury. For example, inflammatory cells can attack joint tissue and cause damage and pain, called rheumatoid arthritis.
What causes inflammation?
Several conditions may be associated with inflammation. However, chronic inflammation is primarily related to autoimmune diseases, including:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart disease
- Crohn's disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
- Type 2 diabetes
The Inflammatory #2 Baseline Blood Test Panel includes:
C-Reactive Protein, High Sensitivity (CRP, hs) - measures the hs-CRP levels in the blood to assess the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Increases in CRP values are nonspecific, making CRP an indicator for a wide range of disease processes, and should not be interpreted without a complete clinical history. Recent medical events resulting in tissue injury, infections, or inflammation, which may cause elevated CRP levels, should also be considered when interpreting results. Serial analysis of CRP should not be used to monitor treatment effects.
A1c (Glycohemoglobin) - test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last two to three months. This is done by measuring the concentration of glycated (also often called glycosylated) hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin is an oxygen-transporting protein found inside red blood cells (RBCs). The predominant form is hemoglobin A.
Lipoprotein (a) is a powerful predictor of premature atherosclerotic vascular disease.1 As an independent risk factor for premature coronary artery disease, excess Lp(a) concentrations are associated with an increased risk of cardiac death in patients with acute coronary syndromes and restenosis after angioplasty (PTCA) and coronary bypass procedures. In general, concentrations >30 mg/dL of Lp(a) in serum are associated with a two- to sixfold increase in risk, depending on other risk factors. Therefore, measurement of lipoprotein (a) is now recommended in several patient subgroups for whom excess lipoprotein (a) may have significant clinical consequences: (1) patients with premature atherosclerosis, (2) patients with a strong family history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) patients with elevated LDL-C and greater than or equal to two risk factors, (4) patients who have had coronary angioplasty in whom lipoprotein (a) excess may increase the risk of restenosis, and (5) patients who have undergone coronary bypass graft surgery in whom Lp(a) excess may be associated with graft stenosis. In addition, the Lp(a) levels in different ethnic populations can vary widely. For example, Africans, or people of African descent, generally have Lp(a) levels higher than Caucasians and Asians, while Native Americans typically have levels lower than Caucasians. This variability of Lp(a) levels by ethnic population requires careful interpretation of results based on a knowledge of the patient and other cardiac risk factors which may be present.
Homocysteine - is an amino acid that can be linked to several vitamins like folic acid, B6, and B12. Therefore, deficiencies of these vitamins may cause elevated levels of homocysteine. Research suggests that people with high homocysteine levels have a much greater risk of heart attack or stroke than those with normal levels. Additionally, increased homocysteine concentrations have been linked to increased blood clots, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and blood vessel blockages in any body part.
Fibrinogen - a protein essential for blood clot formation, is produced by the liver and released as needed into the bloodstream. Typically, when a blood vessel wall or body tissue is injured, the coagulation cascade activates fibrinogen and more than 20 other clotting factors, one after the other. As the cascade nears completion, soluble fibrinogen changes into insoluble fibrin threads. The threads crosslink to form a fibrin net that stabilizes at the injury site. The fibrin net and platelets adhere to the injury site, creating a stable blood clot. This blood clot serves as a barrier and prevents additional blood loss. The clot remains in place until the injured area heals completely. Fibrinogen is one of many blood factors called acute phase reactants. Along with other acute phase reactants, blood levels of fibrinogen rise sharply with some conditions, causing acute tissue inflammation or damage. A fibrinogen test measures the amount of soluble Factor I (which is fibrinogen dissolved in the blood) before it has turned into insoluble fibrin and crosslinked into a fibrin net.
Insulin - helps predict susceptibility to the development of type II diabetes, though C-peptide has mostly supplanted insulin measurement for this role. Therefore, the measurement of insulin levels is not included in The American Diabetes Association recommendations for diagnosis.
Lipase - is used to help diagnose pancreatitis, which is more specific for pancreatitis than serum amylase; it diagnoses peritonitis, strangulated or infarcted bowel, and pancreatic cyst. Serum lipase is usually normal in patients with elevated serum amylase, without pancreatitis, who have a peptic ulcer, salivary adenitis, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal obstruction, and macroamylasemia. The coexistence of increased serum amylase with normal lipase may be a helpful clue to the presence of macroamylasemia.1 Lipase is elevated with amylase in acute pancreatitis, but the elevation of lipase is more prolonged.
When should I order an Inflammatory #2 Baseline Blood Test Panel?
Individuals may order this panel if they have experienced symptoms related to inflammation. Common signs or symptoms of inflammation include:
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Digestive issues
- Recurring fever
- Swollen glands
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