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High C-Reactive Protein and CFS?

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by hollasort, May 2, 2017.

  1. hollasort


    South Dakota, USA
    Hello, I am in the process of a possible diagnosis and I am wondering if anyone here with chronic fatigue syndrome has had a high C reactive protein? (CRP?)
    Mine was 17.1 last fall, and my doctor just ordered another test for it today. All other tests (like ANA) and thyroid have all been normal. I came Upon this article and found it interesting: http://whsc.emory.edu/home/news/releases/2008/12/inflammation-from-chronic-fatigue-syndrome.html
    Does anyone else have a high CRP that is related to COS?
    Thank you!
    Hutan likes this.
  2. Hutan

    Hutan Senior Member

    New Zealand
    Hi @hollasort,
    Since developing an illness consistent with ME, my CRP levels have been mildly elevated (10 to 20). Maybe CRP was elevated before I got sick though - I don't have any blood test information before then.

    Many people with ME don't have raised CRP. My son, who became ill with the same symptoms at the same time as me, has not had high CRP levels. He has had low ESR though (mine is normal) and low white blood cell numbers.

    Consistently high CRP means that something is not right, so it's worth trying to cross other possibilities off the list. I'm checking out sarcoidosis now (for a number of reasons including elevated ACE).

    Has anyone with ME symptoms (and high CRP) done a gallium scan (use of a radioactive marker to pinpoint where in the body the inflammation is)?
    Valentijn, Chezboo and hollasort like this.
  3. charles shepherd

    charles shepherd Senior Member

    Basic information from the ME Association on CRP and ESR tests in ME/CFS:

    The CRP (C-Reactive Protein) blood test is a very useful non specific marker for infection or inflammation in the body

    If the level is raised, it suggests that there is some form of infection or inflammation occurring somewhere in the body - even though there may not be any obvious symptoms or signs that would help to demonstrate the location in the body where this is occurring

    The test is not therefore diagnostic of any particular infection or inflammation - as there are many possible explanations for a raised CRP level ranging from specific infections through to inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus/SLE

    The level can also be raised in the later stages of pregnancy, when taking the contraceptive pill or HRT, and with obesity

    This test, or a similar one called the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), should ALWAYS form part of the raft of blood tests that are checked when a diagnosis of ME/CFS is being made or considered

    The CRP test rises and falls faster than the ESR

    In the case of ME/CFS, both the CRP and ESR test results should be within normal limits - but there are some circumstances (eg a recent infection) where it might be raised

    If the level is slightly raised, the test will probably be repeated

    If the level remains raised, or is significantly raised, this should lead to a thorough re-evaluation of the clinical symptoms and some further investigations to try and find the cause.

    I assume from what you are saying that consideration has been given to conditions that are sometimes misdiagnosed as ME/CFS, and which do cause an elevation of the CRP level - lupus/SLE for example.

    Where the CRP level remains persistently raised, and the GP cannot find an explanation, referral to a hospital specialist will probably be necessary.

    The use of ESR and CRP tests in ME/CFS are described in the Investigation section of the 2017 MEA purple book:


    More detailed information on the CRP test here:

    More info on ESR test here:

    Dr Charles Shepherd
    Hon Medical Adviser MEA
  4. hollasort


    South Dakota, USA
    Thank you, this is very helpful!
  5. Dhughzy


    I had a 16.9 crp I feel like I have cfs though maybe this is just me but my symptoms seem like cfs symptoms.

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