By analyzing the blood of a person, a lot can be said about his or her health condition. Blood acts as a good medium to detect various deficiencies, diseases, and illnesses. There are different kinds of blood tests carried out in hospitals. One such blood test is the CPK blood test, which is a test taken to detect muscle damage in the body. It can indicate the level of damage caused in muscle dystrophy patients and can also help detect early dermatomyositis and polymyositis. Besides muscle damage, doctors are also able to diagnose heart attacks and even neurological disorders.
What is a CPK Blood Test?
Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) is an enzyme found primarily in the heart, skeletal muscles, and brain. This enzyme's primary function is to convert creatine into phosphate, which then gets consumed or burned up as a quick energy source by the cells of the body. In healthy adults, CPK blood test normal levels are somewhere around 12-80 ml (30 degrees) or 55-170 ml (37 degrees). In women these levels are slightly lower.
However, when there occurs any kind of muscle damage, the levels of CPK enzyme shoot up. This is because when the muscle gets injured, the muscle cells burst open and spill out their contents into the bloodstream. Since a large amount of the CPK enzyme is present in the muscle cells, their splitting open results in spilling of CPK into the blood, thereby raising the levels of CPK present in the blood. A CPK test checks for the level of this enzyme in the blood.
Elevated levels reveal that there has been some muscle damage in the body or there is some muscle damage currently taking place in the body. It is therefore an indicator of muscle injury, muscle dystrophy, malignant hyperthermia, myocarditis, myocardial infarction, rhabdomyolysis or myositis. CPK levels are seen to increase after a strenuous exercise.
The same goes for the heart and brain cells as well. Since the type of CPK in them differs from that in the skeletal muscles (CPK-2, CPK-1 and CPK-3), one can identify where the damage has taken place by determining the type of CPK found in the blood. Within 3-4 hours after a heart attack, CPK levels are seen to shoot up. By analyzing the timing of rise and fall in CPK levels, one can also predict the occurrence of heart attacks to some extent.
A CPK blood test procedure is just like any other blood test procedure. The doctor inserts a needle into the vein of the elbow or back of the hand, after cleaning the site to be injected with an antiseptic. Blood is collected in the vial attached to the needle and is then sent to the laboratory for testing levels of CPK. Blood test normal range or elevated range will indicate the health of the patient. To obtain more accurate results these CPK blood tests may be carried for a few more times, just to make sure the results are right.
To obtain accurate results, one should not be involved in any strenuous activities before taking the test. Then again, low CPK levels are indicative of rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholic liver disease. Thus, a CPK blood test helps diagnose several medical conditions and helps us treat them before further damage is caused.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.