Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism. It is part of the body’s innate immune system and can be triggered by many things. It is a complex process by which the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to fight infection. Inflammation is essentially the body’s way of tagging a part of the body to receive attention from the immune system.
There are several tests that can help determine the level of inflammation in your body. These tests should be performed routinely as a preventative measure and to monitor inflammatory status. This article will discuss what inflammation is, the top 5 tests for inflammation.
1: Fasting Insulin
The fasting insulin level test is a valuable test for detecting levels of inflammation. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the beta cells of theislets of Langerhans in the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. It’s overall effect is to help regulate the metabolism of glucose. Specifically, insulin decreases blood levels of glucose by promoting transport of glucose into the liver and muscles to be stored as glycogen.
Insulin also participates in regulation of the processes required for metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The insulin response test measures insulin response to a standardized dose of glucose, administered over fixed period of time and is useful in evaluating patients with hypoglycemia and suspected insulin-resistance.
- Clinical Range: 2.6-24.9 uIU/ml
- Optimal Range: 1.0-5.0 uIU/ml
2: Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) gives the average amount of glucose in the blood, or blood sugar, over the past 3 months. It is one of the top tests for determining whether a person has inflammation.
- Clinical Range: 4.8-5.6
- Optimal Range: 4.5-5.2
3: C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test is a blood test marker used to assess levels of inflammation in the body. CRP is a protein produced in the liver. It is an acute phase reactant, which means it increases or decreases in concentration with inflammation or trauma.
- Clinical Range: 0-3 mg/L
- Optimal Range: 0-2 mg/L
4: Serum Ferritin
The ferritin test is a simple blood test that measures the level of ferritin in the body. Ferritin, a protein manufactured in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, consists of a protein shell, apoferritin, and an iron core. The amount of ferritin in the circulation is usually proportional to the amount of stored iron (ferritin and hemosiderin) in body tissues. Levels vary according to age and gender, but they
are not affected by exogenous iron intake or subject to diurnal variations. Compared to iron and total iron-binding capacity, ferritin is a more sensitive and specific test for diagnosing iron-deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia in adults is indicated at ferritin levels less than 10 ng/mL; hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis is indicated at levels greater than 400 ng/mL.
- Clinical Range: 30-400
- Optimal Range: Females (25-100), Males (50-150)
5: Red Blood Cell Width (RDW)
Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) is an excellent test to detect inflammation in the body. The RDW is a measurement of cell size distribution.
- Clinical Range: 12.3-15.4%
- Optimal Range: 11.7-15%
In fact, inflammation has been linked to almost every major health problem. It inhibits optimal function of your body from a cellular level, making you a slower healer and promoting disease at the deepest level. Luckily, there are advanced tests for inflammation that can help you design an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and generally disappears within a few days. Acute inflammation protects us against damaged cells, viruses, and bacteria. In this way, inflammation is beneficial. Chronic inflammation is systemic inflammation that can last for months or years.
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