HOW CAN WE DETECT AND MONITOR CHRONIC INFLAMMATION?
Because most physicians are not looking for chronic inflammation in the patients they see, there are very few laboratory tests available which accurately detect it.
Many times the patient first learns that he or she has a chronic illness when the symptoms become noticeable or their doctor informs them that they have heart disease, diabetes, allergies, arthritis or other forms of chronic disease.
Early detection and treatment of chronic disease would be more common if certain laboratory tests were requested by physicians during patient physicals or complaints of pain and discomfort.
Dr. Torelli believes the following diagnostic tests are the best available today for screening patients who may have, or be developing, chronic inflammation.
This test, often called simply CRP, is the most common and inexpensive laboratory test for detecting chronic inflammation. In recent years the traditional medical community has become more accepting of the significance of this test, although it remains dramatically under-utilized.
CRP is critically important in determining if chronic inflammation exists, but it is not specific as to where in the body the inflammation is located.
High insulin levels are a signal of injury to tissues in the body. Of all the insulin tests available today, fasting insulin is the most suitable for the risk assessment of certain chronic diseases.
Abnormal levels are an indicator of the possible onset of diabetes or heart disease.
There are a variety of laboratory tests that can provide additional insight on inflammation status. These include ferritin, lipoprotein(a), triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
A new generation of tissue-specific inflammation biomarkers is now being utilized in medical research laboratories. A few of these are available to the public through a physician’s request, although their cost may be higher than traditional biomarkers. One test of particular interest is Lp-PLA2, which measures inflammation in the endothelial lining of the arteries.