What Tests Are Used to Diagnose a Crohn’s Flare-up?

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose a Crohn’s Flare-up?
Those who live with Crohn’s disease know that at times symptoms become more severe, which is known as a Crohn’s flare-up. There is no specific test to determine if a worsening of symptoms is a flare-up, so doctors look at the patient's symptoms and order tests to get a better idea. The process is similar to the methods employed by Sherlock Holmes, piecing many clues together to figure out a problem. Aside from procedures such as upper endoscopies and colonoscopies to look at the intestines, blood tests and fecal tests can also indicate inflammation. Blood tests can indicate inflammation Doctors will typically order three blood tests to look for infection, anemia, and inflammation. A complete blood count is useful to check for infection and anemia. Blood tests that can indicate inflammation include c-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). C-reactive protein is produced by the liver in response to inflammation in the body. Levels of CRP can be elevated when an infection is present, during active inflammatory bowel disease, and in conditions such as arthritis. Though this test is imprecise, it’s a good place to start when a doctor is investigating a flare-up. The ESR test is similar to a CRP test, and also indicates inflammation in the body: the higher the rate, the greater the inflammation. However, while these tests show the presence of inflammation, they do not pinpoint its location. What if blood test results are insufficient? Recently, I visited my gastroenterologist because I have been experiencing more severe gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms for a couple of weeks. I thought that I was having a Crohn’s flare-up. My doctor would usually order the CRP and ESR tests to look for inflammation, but those results can be misleading for
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