Thursday, June 16, 2011

And Then There Were Three

This blog will be posted some time after it was written due to an outside directive to not talk about my living donor experience until after I have donated.  If you are reading this, it is because I have completed the donation process.

February 25, 2011

C-reactive protein-a pretty protein
A third test has been added,  a blood test to be completed when I go and hand in my 24 hour urine test.  It turns out when Dr. N was doing her dictation after I left the appointment, she noticed that one test measured high.  I did have to ask which one (they don't normally  offer up which tests were normal, high or low) and I was told my c reactive protein., measuring my c reactive proteins, was high.  How high?  Just a bit. But enough that she wants to be sure, which I do appreciate.

Now unless you are one of the half dozen Calgary Health Authority folks who reads the blog, you might be wondering what a c-reactive protein (CRP) is, and what a high or higher than normal rating could mean. CRP is a protein made by the liver and is elevated in the blood when there is widespread inflammation somewhere in the body. It is actually a good marker (in combination with other things) to determine if people have heart disease (or the start of it).  I was told in my case thats probably not the cause because of my age and good health and the fact that I have no other symptoms of that. I was told by the program coordinator that it could be a result of a dormant infection like Lupus (???-because THAT would be better) or some other auto-immune disease. Anxious to better understand what some of the other causes are, I looked it up and this seems to be the most comprehensive list:
  • Hypertension
  • Alcohol use
  • High protein diet
  • Coffee consumption
  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Pregnancy or contraceptive use
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Obesity (especially if in the abdominal area)
  • Infection
  • Burns
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Auto-immune disease(Crohn's, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Gout
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis

You can see by the list that it can be caused by "just about anything". Quite a few of those options, while they appear to be scary, would likely not apply to me as other tests I have taken would have already ruled them out (like diabetes for example). I am not sure if "just a bit high" applies to all of these as well.  For example, if you had Cancer or Pancreatitis, would they always result in "sky high" or could they also make you register a little higher than normal?  I'm not sure.

While I didn't get the "it could be nothing" reassurance from the program coordinator, I'm hoping that it was "nothing" or something more benign like the coffee or lack of sleep (two things I am guilty of with more frequency). We shall see.  Mind you, if it comes back normal, the only way I will know that is if I get moved on through :)

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