Creatine kinase is an enzyme present in the skeletal muscles, heart, and brain. High levels of this enzyme can indicate an injury or a trauma in the body which may require immediate medical attention. A creatine kinase test helps in diagnosing various conditions related to the muscular, cardiovascular, and neurological health.
Creatine kinase (CK) test is also known as the Creatine phosphokinase test or the CPK blood test. It helps to determine the CPK levels in body, which if high, can be an indication of many severe health conditions related to the cardiovascular, neurological, as well as muscle-related issues.
Why is Creatine Kinase Test Done?
You may be advised to get this test done if your doctor suspects your health symptoms to be associated with chest pain, heart problems, muscle damage, acute renal failure, etc. He or she may want to analyze the test results to determine the cause of the condition (or symptoms) you have.
How to Prepare?
Unlike other blood tests, where one requires to fast beforehand, there is no special preparation required to perform this test. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider and inform him/her about the medications and drugs that you may be consuming on a daily basis. There are certain drugs and medications that can influence the CPK levels in the blood and may alter the results. Some of these drugs include, aspirin, blood thinners, ampicillin, amphotericin B, clofibrate, etc. Consumption of alcohol and cocaine can also trigger the levels.
How is the Test Done?
Blood is usually withdrawn from the vein at the back of the hand, or the vein at the inner side of the elbow. The site from where the blood will be withdrawn is first cleaned with the help of an antiseptic-treated cotton ball. After that, a plastic band is wrapped around the upper arm, so that the blood flow increases in the vein, and a pressure is created, which makes it easier to withdraw blood. Once the band has been tightly wrapped around the arm, the healthcare provider inserts a medicated needle into the vein and collects the required amount of blood into the vial attached to the needle. Once the blood is withdrawn, the elastic band is removed and so is the needle. The punctured site is immediately pressed with a medicated cotton ball in order to prevent infection and stop the bleeding. The blood sample is then sent to the laboratory wherein the creatine kinase levels are measured.
At times, the doctor may suggest to repeat this test to analyze the fluctuation in the levels of CPK, probably in a span of 2 to 3 days.
Test Results: What Do They Mean?
The normal range of this enzyme varies depending upon the age and gender of the person. According to Mayo Clinic, normally, for men who are 18 years and older, the acceptable range is 52-336 U/L. For adult women, the range lowers to 38-176 U/L. Children, on the other hand, tend to have higher reference values than adults. However, note that the values may differ from laboratory to laboratory. You should clarify the meaning of your test results with a trusted doctor.
What Do High Levels Mean?
If your test results show a higher number than the normal values, then this may be associated with many health issues. These include,
- Heart attack
- Electric shock
- Heart muscle inflammation
- Brain stroke or injury
- Skeletal muscle inflammation
- Hereditary muscle diseases leading to muscle weakness
- Death of lung tissue
What Do Low Levels Mean?
If the results show a lower number than this range, it may be due to health issues such as alcoholic liver diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. The levels may also drop in women during the early stage of pregnancy.
Make sure that you check with your doctor the explanation of the test results. Also, inform your doctor about the drugs and medications that you consume so that they don’t end up triggering the results. Have a safe tomorrow.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.