The human body is a symbiotic platform where it lives and harvests various types of friendly microorganisms. It seldom happens that pathogens attack the human body due to injuries and internal issues causing a lot of problems. It causes inflammation in affected regions. The accumulation of the white blood cells and other components of the immune system creates a strong barrier to stopping the progression of the infection.
In some cases, the inflammation tends to increase its area when the infection cannot be contained by the immune system. This is where an individual will have to go through specific inflammation tests. These tests are designed by medical experts by focusing on the research information generated for decades.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is an immune response generated by the human body when pathogens are detected. It is either hidden or revealed. One may not be able to tell that his body is generating an immune response unless tested.
When the inflammation is chronic, it should be brought under medical supervision. The experts will then check the symptoms and make a diagnosis. To infer the diagnosis, physicians will ask the patients to undergo tests. There are a few tests conducted to check the rate of inflammation, severity and the level of immune response a patient is showing.
Types of clinical inflammation tests
Let us find out the types of inflammation tests and learn more about them.
- C-Reactive Protein Test (CRP)
A CRP test is conducted to check the level of the C-reactive protein generated by the immune cells to protect the blood components and organ tissues from invasive pathogens. This protein is generated when the immune system detects foreign substances such as pathogens.
This test is conducted to check the current condition of the inflammation. A blood sample is drawn to check how the C-reactive proteins are present in the bloodstream. A reagent is added that quickly combines with this antibody and showcases the amount. The level of CRP binding determines the level of inflammation the human body is going through due to an anti-inflammatory response.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test
As the name suggests, this test is conducted to check the sedimentation rate of the red blood cells (RBCs) or erythrocytes. When pathogens attack the RBCs, they invade and damage these cells. RBCs are very important for exchanging gases. Hence, these cells need proper protection from the immune system.
A pathogen species that invasively destroys RBCs will generate specific proteins or antibodies. These antibodies will attach themselves outside the RBCs and increase the weight of these cells. Hence, the sedimentation rate of these cells will automatically increase. The rate of sedimentation can be calculated to check the level of inflammation. This is called the ESR test.
A blood sample is collected from the patient. The sedimentation rate is then calculated by putting this sample in a test tube and then in a centrifuge. As the RBCs have increased in weight, the difference in sedimentation rate will explain the presence of inflammation and pathogenic immune reactions.
A sedimentation rate slower than normal explains potential blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, leukocytosis, polycythemia, etc. A sedimentation rate faster than normal explains the inflammatory disease, menstruation, pregnancy, anaemia, heart disease, etc.
- Plasma viscosity (PV) test
As the name suggests, this is a test where the viscosity of plasma is tested. It is also an inflammation test where a blood sample is collected from a patient. The sample is then spun in a centrifuge in a test tube for the separation of plasma from the rest of the blood components.
The plasma is then collected to check the viscosity, a physical property. A viscometer is used to check this property and the result is then compared with the normal values. An inflammation will generate inflammation proteins, antibodies, etc in plasma resulting in its viscosity is higher than normal.
This test is non-conclusive about what is causing the inflammation. It is done to check whether the human body is going through any immune response due to inflammation. It means this test is incapable of identifying the type of inflammation proteins and antibodies. Once detected, further conclusive lab tests are prescribed by the physicians to confirm the cause and start a treatment plan.
Why an inflammation test is done?
As mentioned earlier, an inflammation test is done based on the suspicion of a physician. Patients often cannot tell that they are going through an immune response. The symptoms are not always conclusive. This is why these three tests are designed to infer the presence of inflammation.
Once the results confirm an inflammation, further tests and diagnosis are done by the physicians to identify the cause. Hence, inflammation tests are done to ensure the presence or absence of inflammation.
In a nutshell
When there is redness, heat, swelling, pain, reduction of bodily functions, fever and skin inflammation, it is ideal to go to a doctor and get an inflammation test done. These tests will reveal whether you are suffering from inflammation or not. These tests prepare the basic ground for further diagnosis and medical treatment.