I was walking along the road with my family towards the nearby ice cream parlour when suddenly the alarming sound of the ambulance stuck me. It was as if the ambulance was howling to announce the urgency for medical attention. This created a stream of thought in my mind.
We have an alarm to wake us up in time every morning, we have a smoke detector at home to give signals for impending fire, we even have insured ourselves against accidents and wrong happenings. Why then has the technology not developed to the extent that such urgencies for life can be zeroed down? Why isn’t preventive medicine or science developed and practiced more than curative science?
A few days after I began thinking about preventive medicine, I came across my family doctor talking about C-RP (C-Reactive Protein) in a talk to patients. No, don’t worry , I’m not going to bog you down by technical jargon and complicated vocabulary of a practitioner. On the other hand, I intend to share information about how we can use technology in form of diagnostic tests to post pone or even avoid age related and other chronic illnesses. Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease , cancer , tuberculosis, pneumonia and heart diseases are all leading illnesses experienced by patients the world over. There has to be an underlying cause which propels diseases like these and not others. Why is diabetes, arthritis and heart diseases experienced by almost all people above 50 years? Have you ever wondered?
Yes, there is a process whereby the body loses its strength and vitality. The immune response to identify and respond against a foreign object at times in abnormalities reacts to its own body systems. This is called an auto immune response. This gives rise to inflammation in the body which is the way the body reacts or fights with its own body parts or organs to be specific. This war of the body within itself causes injury and weakness to organs like the heart, the bones and muscles and even the heart. All these give rise to chronic diseases mentioned above. That’s not all! Even infections are a sign of a foreign entity invading the body and hence this also results in abnormal symptoms. However the body takes time to elicit symptoms of a disease and the inflammation process begins much earlier, perhaps even months earlier.
This is the crux of the matter. If the inflammation process can be tapped, we can predict the condition of the body and probably even take corrective measures to avoid the symptoms to be elicited. This is a great technology and now my query of alarm in medicine was answered to a great extent. This is because C-reactive proteins are secreted by the liver of the human host experiencing the inflammation.
Hence by undergoing a C-RP test, the blood serum content of the C-RP is measured and if this is beyond the normal limit of 10mg/l, it is a signal for inflammation. Hence, now you don’t have to wait until you experience heart pain to predict a impending attack ; nor do you have to experience stiff joints to trigger diagnosis for arthritis. This is a great revolution.
The ESR is many a times combined with the test for C-RP. This is because theC-RP concentration in the blood changes suddenly but the erythrocyte sedimentation rate changes rather slowly. So, if treatment or mitigation of the disease has already started, the C-RP could be within the normal range. But in these cases by monitoring the sedimentation rate of the erythrocytes, which could be still in the abnormal range, the inflammation experienced by the body can be diagnosed. In this situation, the normal C-RP is on account of treatment of the disease.
This information is only theoretical unless we start practising it and converting it into knowledge. Yes, we do need the doctor’s advice for carrying out the test but we surely can discuss the repercussions with him. Only then can we help ourselves. So, be aware, live mindfully.