December 17th, 2017

To Your Health: Take note of any inflammation in your body

By Gillian Slade on October 2, 2017.

We’ve become so accustomed to using a temperature thermometer in our homes, to indicate whether we have a fever or not, and in the future we may be relying on a device to measure inflammation in our bodies.

A research centre in Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre, has developed a device similar in size to a blood pressure monitor that health care professionals may soon be using and even people at home to indicate the level of inflammation.

CRP, or C-reactive protein, is an inflammation marker that can rise rather rapidly in the blood stream if you have a bacterial infection. Health-care professionals typically order CRP measurements if they suspect there is inflammation connected to the symptoms a patient is experiencing.

Knowing at home how much inflammation is in your body would indicate whether you need to see a doctor or go to the emergency department.

The inflammation test would require a drop of blood, that is diluted in a test tube that comes with the device, according to a press release by VTT Technical Research Centre. A drop of that is then applied to a test strip and put in the portable measuring device. Within 20 minutes the results are sent to the CRP application on the person’s mobile phone.

Apparently the processing of the test works like this. The test strip is based on the lateral flow method and uses antibodies to detect the CRP marker from the blood.

“The device measures optically the fluorescence of the sample area. VTT expertise in test chemistry, optics, electronics and software development was used to develop the device. Particular attention was paid to achieve a quantitative CRP measurement result,” said the press release.

There is no word on how long before this device will be available commercially or for you to buy.

It is important to remember that not all inflammation is a bad thing. There is also a difference between chronic inflammation and acute inflammation.

A thorn or sliver from a piece of wood in your toe may cause your immune system to fight any bacteria there and becomes inflamed. If you remove the sliver the inflammation will probably subside. There may also be inflammation after vigorous exercise when your muscles were slightly injured in the process of exercising. That too will subside unless aggravated with more injury.

Chronic inflammation inside your body can indicate reason for more concern. Sepsis is acute inflammation throughout the body in response to an infection and can be extremely serious.

Here’s to new medical devices that could change our lives and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her by email on call 403-528-8635.

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