Lab test glossary C

High sensitivity c-reactive protein (hscrp): High Sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is produced in the liver and its levels rise dramatically in the presence of inflammation or infection. Although not a telltale diagnostic sign of any one condition, hsCRP may be measured to check for rheumatoid arthritis or to measure a patient’s response to treatment. As a marker of inflammation, hsCRP has also been established as an important predictor of cardiovascular risk. As an acute phase reactant, hsCRP can be used as a general screening aid for inflammatory diseases, infections, and neoplasms. In addition, hsCRP in large concentrations (>5 mg/dL) predicts progression of erosions in rheumatoid arthritis. Elevated serum hsCRP is characteristic of bacterial, but not viral, meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Elevated hsCRP levels are also associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction in patients with stable and unstable angina and predict the risk of a first myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke in apparently healthy individuals. hsCRP levels between 3-10 ug/mL are suggestive of the inflammatory process caused by the formation of atherosclerosis. Levels greater than 10 ug/mL suggest other types of inflammation that can occur with such conditions as arthritis or infection.
Calcitonin: Calcitonin is a hormone secreted by the thyroid, which helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the bloodstream and promotes bone formation. Elevated levels of calcitonin may be encountered in a variety of conditions, including thyroid cancer, small cell lung cancer, leukemias and myeloproliferative disorders. The test is most often used to detect and confirm cancer of the thyroid gland, and elevated calcitonin levels may be detectable in blood even before the tumor shows any other signs or symptoms.
Calcium (ca): Calcium, an element found in the body, is an important component of bone. It is also important in normal cell function, muscle contraction, heart action, nervous system maintenance, and blood clotting. The parathyroid glands regulate serum calcium concentrations and bone metabolism. In turn, serum calcium concentrations regulate parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion via negative feedback. Elevated levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) may be caused by hyperparathyroidism, multiple myeloma, or excessive vitamin D intake, while low levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) may result from hypoparathyroidism, low vitamin D intake, pregnancy, osteomalacia and certain renal diseases.
Campylobacter jejuni Antibody (c. jejuni Ab): Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) is a bacterium that causes infectious diarrhea. The antibody against C. jejuni indicates recent infection with or prior exposure to these bacteria. C. jejuni infection causes cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever within 2 to 5 days after exposure to the organism. It is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrhea. Most cases come from handling or ingesting raw or undercooked poultry.
Cancer Antigen 15-3 (cA 15-3): Cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3, also called BR-MA) is a cancer biomarker most useful as an indicator of the effects of treatment in women diagnosed with breast cancer, especially advanced breast cancer. Although elevated levels are present in only a small percentage of patients with localized breast cancer, two-thirds of cases with metastasis will have significantly elevated levels. Elevations in CA 15-3 may be caused by non-cancerous conditions such as benign breast or ovarian disease, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, pregnancy, lactation, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. CA 15-3 may also be elevated in other types of cancer including lung, ovarian, prostate, pancreas, colon and liver.
Cancer Antigen 19-9 (cA 19-9): Cancer antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is a cancer biomarker whose levels may be elevated in cancers of the digestive tract (colorectal, pancreatic, stomach, and bile duct cancers), particularly cancer of the pancreas. Higher levels of CA 19-9 tend to be associated with more advanced disease, but several noncancerous conditions may also cause elevated CA 19-9 levels, including gallstones, pancreatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. CA 19-9 and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) may be used together to help differentiate benign disease from pancreatic carcinoma, since elevations of both are suggestive of cancer.
Cancer Antigen 125 (cA 125): Cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) is a cancer biomarker currently used to monitor women with ovarian cancer. Recent research has shown that CA 125 in combination with other biomarkers can, in many cases, indicate ovarian cancer 48 months before a woman becomes symptomatic. Some physicians are now using CA 125 in combination with ovarian ultrasound to monitor for ovarian cancer in high risk women.
Carbon dioxide (co2): Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas that dissolves in water to make carbonic acid, which means that measurement of carbon dioxide levels in the blood can help to indicate the blood’s acidity. Measurement of CO2 content is part of an electrolyte panel to screen for an electrolyte or acid-base imbalance. Higher than normal CO2 levels may reflect excessive loss of acid (as with recurrent vomiting or continuous gastric drainage) or acid-base disorders (such as primary aldosteronism or Cushing?s syndrome). Lower than normal levels are common in acidosis (as in diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney disease, and severe diarrhea) or breathing disorders.
Carcinoembryonic Antigen (ceA): Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein normally found in fetal gut tissue. Benign conditions, including smoking, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease, can raise CEA levels. Its levels may also be increased in the presence of various cancers, particularly colon and rectal cancer, but also with breast, lung, pancreatic, thyroid, and genitourinary cancers.
Centromere protein b Antibody(cenp-b Ab): Antibodies to centromere protein B (CENP-B Ab) are found in a variety of autoimmune conditions and arthritis diseases. Centromere antibodies demonstrate a specific anti-nuclear antibody pattern, which is present in 80-90% of individuals with CREST scleroderma, 30% of people with Raynaud’s syndrome, and 12% of people with mixed connective-tissue disease, diffuse scleroderma, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis or primary biliary cirrhosis.
Chlamydia Pneumoniae Antibody (c. pneumoniAe Ab): Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) is a bacterium that causes pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis and pharyngitis in both adults and children. Chronic low-level infection may injure blood vessels and has been seen in patients who have suffered a heart attack or heart disease. The presence of this antibody indicates recent infection with or exposure to C. pneumoniae. In addition to causing pneumonia and other upper and lower respiratory ailments, chronic infection with C. pneumoniae can initiate and perpetuate vascular endothelial damage and has recently been implicated in atherogenesis, asthma, otitis media, multiple sclerosis, and age-related macular degeneration. Studies have demonstrated a consistent association between elevated C. pneumoniae antibody titers and myocardial infarction or chronic heart disease.
Chlamydia Trachomatis Antibody (c. trachomatis ab): Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis) is a bacterium that is transmitted by sexual contact and commonly causes infections of the female reproductive tract. This antibody indicates recent infection with or exposure to C. trachomatis. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted organisms in the U.S. today, with more than 3 million people infected each year. It is asymptomatic in 80% of women and 50% of men, but may result in cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease in females, urethritis or epididymitis in males, and conjunctivitis or pneumonia in neonates.
Chloride (CL): Chloride (Cl) is an electrolyte that is important in water distribution and general cell function. Chloride levels may be abnormal in a variety of metabolic and kidney conditions. Low levels of chloride (hypochloremia) are observed with burns, Cushing’s syndrome, heart failure, salt-losing nephritis, metabolic alkalosis, chronic compensated respiratory acidosis, and diabetic ketoacidosis. Elevated levels of chloride (hyperchloremia) occur with dehydration, renal tubular acidosis, acute renal failure, metabolic acidosis associated with prolonged diarrhea and loss of sodium bicarbonate, diabetes insipidus, adrenocortical hyperfunction, hyperparathyroidism, salicylate intoxication, and respiratory alkalosis.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a lipid that is found in our diet as well as manufactured by the liver. It is an important component in a variety of hormones. An elevated cholesterol level is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Total cholesterol is a measurement of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol.
Collagen type 1 Antibody: Collagen autoantibodies have been observed in a variety of autoimmune diseases, including mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), progressive systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and vasculitis, among other conditions. Collagen type 1 antibodies are found in about 85% of SLE patients, as well as in adult and juvenile RA and relapsing polychondritis.
Collagen type 2 Antibody: Collagen autoantibodies have been observed in a variety of autoimmune diseases, including mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and vasculitis, among other conditions. Collagen type 2 antibodies are present in the serum of about 70% of people with RA and 40-50% of people with relapsing polychrondritis.
Collagen type 4 Antibody: Collagen autoantibodies have been observed in a variety of autoimmune diseases, including mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), progressive systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and vasculitis, among other conditions.
Collagen type 6 Antibody: Collagen autoantibodies have been observed in a variety of autoimmune diseases, including mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and vasculitis, among other conditions. Antibodies against collagen type 6 are present in a number of chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholism.
Complement 3 (c3): Complement is a group of proteins that facilitate the immunologic and inflammatory response. Increased levels can be seen in people who have ulcerative colitis or cancer. Decreased levels can be seen in people who have cirrhosis, autoimmune diseases, anemia, malnutrition, hepatitis, certain fungal and parasitic infections, septicemia and shock.
Complement Factor c1q Antibody: Complement factor C1q is a large molecule complex that is involved in the immune system. Complement factor C1q antibodies may be present in certain autoimmune diseases and arthritis conditions. For example, antibodies to complement factor C1q occur in 15 to 30% of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, but their contribution to disease development is not well understood.
Cortisol: Cortisol is a hormone primarily generated and released by the adrenal gland. Cortisol is a powerful glucocorticoid that regulates numerous body systems, including the response to infection and inflammation, blood sugar levels, and bone metabolism. Cortisol stimulates conversion of proteins to carbohydrates, raises blood glucose levels, and promotes glycogen storage in the liver. Cortisol levels are often measured to evaluate the function of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Increased cortisol levels can be seen in pregnancy, physical and emotional stress, hyperthyroidism, and obesity. Some medications can also increase levels, particularly oral contraceptives (birth control pills), hydrocortisone (the synthetic form of cortisol), and spironolactone. High levels can be seen in people with adrenal tumors and Cushings’ syndrome, while lower than normal levels may indicate Addison’s disease or hypopituitarism.
Creatinine: Creatinine is a protein waste product generated by muscle metabolism and is eliminated by the kidneys. Because creatinine is released at a constant rate (depending on muscle mass), its serum level is a good indicator of kidney function. Creatinine levels can increase temporarily as a result of muscle injury. Significant elevations can be seen when kidney function is impaired. Elevated levels may also indicate diabetic nephropathy, preeclampsia or eclampsia, glomerulomephritis, or rhabdomyolysis. Lower than normal levels can be seen with conditions that result in decreased muscle mass (e.g., late stage muscular dystrophy) or with myasthenia gravis. However, low levels of creatinine are not common and are not usually a cause for concern.
Creatine Kinase Mb (ck-Mb): Creatine kinase MB (CK-MB) is a protein derived from heart muscle. Levels of this protein are significantly elevated when the heart muscle is damaged, as occurs during myocardial infarction (heart attack). Damaged cardiac tissue releases CK-MB from 2 to 8 hours following acute myocardial infarction. CK-MB values peak at 9 to 30 hours after myocardial infarction and return to baseline within 48 to 72 hours. Rhabdomyolysis and other causes of skeletal muscle injury can also increase CK-MB levels.
Creatine KinAse, Total (ck total): Creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme found in skeletal muscle, heart muscle, and brain tissue. Its levels are significantly elevated when skeletal or heart muscles are damaged. Creatine kinase increases after myocardial infarction (heart attack), thus its levels are often measured to diagnose myocardial infarction or evaluate an episode of chest pain. CK levels are also elevated in the presence of neuromuscular disease or muscle damage caused by drugs, trauma, or immobility.
Cytochrome p450 Antibody: Cytochrome P450 enzymes are involved in the metabolism of many substances including drugs, toxins, hormones, and natural plant products. They are found in the liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. Antibodies against one of the enzymes are sometimes present in people with type II autoimmune hepatitis and other liver diseases.
Cytomegalovirus Antibody (cmv Ab): Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that may cause mononucleosis in healthy individuals or more severe disease in immunosuppressed persons. The presence of CMV antibody indicates recent infection or exposure. CMV infections in humans are widespread: 60 to 90% of adults have had CMV infection. Infection of healthy children and adults usually results in asymptomatic disease, but can cause hepatitis or mononucleosis. If acquired in utero or at birth, CMV infection is usually asymptomatic, but in 10% of infants it causes congenital abnormalities, including growth retardation, jaundice, hepatosplenomegaly, pneumonitis, and prematurity. CMV is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients, who may develop pulmonary, gastrointestinal or nervous system involvement.
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