CPK Lab (Creatine Phosphokinase) Test

CPK Creatine Phosphokinase Test

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CPK is creatine phosphokinase, an enzyme found mainly in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle.High CPK can indicate muscle destruction, heart attacks, central nervous system issues, and others. Long term exposure to high CPK can load up your kidneys and may cause muscle loss and weakness. Sometimes we have no symptoms when CPK is high, but most of the time we have body aches and soreness. CPK can be increased by resistance exercise, so refrain from working out for at least 5 days before getting the CPK test.

CPK Blood Test - Everything You Should Know

Creatine phosphokinase is an enzyme found in high concentrations in the myocardium and skeletal muscle. In small concentrations, it's also found in the brain.

This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of creatinine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to phosphocreatine and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). This reaction is reversible, which means that ATP can be synthesized from phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate.

Creatine phosphokinase has a dimeric structure and comes in four forms: cytosolic isoenzymes with the 3 fractions CK-MM (muscle creatine kinase), CK-MB (myocardial creatine kinase) and CK-BB (brain creatine kinase),  and mitochondrial isoenzyme.

The total creatine kinase level is mostly represented by the MM isoenzyme, provided that there is no pathology, because for example in the case of myocardial infarction, the level is given by the CK-MB isoenzyme

What CPK Blood Test is and How Does it Work

This test is used to determine the creatine kinase in your blood. It is usually recommended by physicians for persons that suffered a recent injury.

The test is also used to evaluate the cause of chest pain or if a person`s diagnosis is unclear. For example, if a person has nonspecific symptoms such as difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, dizziness, or nausea.

More particular though, doctors are using this test to investigate skeletal muscle disorders (muscular dystrophies) and to diagnose myocardial infarction and stroke.

Creatine kinase is not supposed to be measured after intense efforts or in the presence of any other cause of a possible increase in CK, as this makes it difficult to interpret the results.

If the CK values are significantly high at baseline, levels need to be measured again within 5 to 7 days to confirm the results. 

The test does not require special preparation. However, you should consider that some medicines alongside alcohol and drugs and intense workout can increase the CK levels and your doctor should be aware if you consume any.

As for the procedure in itself, the test is not different from any other. A healthcare provider will follow the standard venipuncture procedure, no side effects should follow or pain. Usually, it is recommended to take the test before breakfast for a more accurate result.

Normal Laboratory Levels for CPK

Until this moment there is no general agreement upon the normal range for creatine kinase. Some laboratories use different measurement levels and samples.

Creatine kinase is a molecule found predominantly in the cell where it functions. However, it is possible to find the enzyme circulating in the blood in a range not exceeding 200 U / L.

Normal CK values ​​may vary depending on factors such as age, gender, race, constitution, and physical activity. In general, it is slightly higher in men. The reference value to be considered ranges between 10 to 120  mcg/L.

It is recommended to not interpret the results by yourself alone, but discuss with a doctor. They will analyze your medical history with your result.

What Elevated CPK Levels Indicate?

Very high levels of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) usually indicate damage to the heart, brain,  or muscle tissue. Determining specific isoenzymes in the blood helps diagnose. For example, an increase in the CK-MB isoenzyme diagnosis myocardial infarction.

Therefore the test to determine this total enzyme and its isoenzymes is used to:

  • Diagnosis of myocardial infarction
  • Evaluation of a cause of chest pain
  • Determining if and to what extent the muscle is affected
  • Early determination of dermatomyositis and polymyositis
  • Makes the differential diagnosis between postoperative infection and post-anesthesia hypercatabolic state

Elevated CPK levels could be a sign of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart inflammation
  • Myopathy
  • Tissue disease
  • Muscle dystrophy or severe muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis
  • Excessive exercise
  • A medication side effect

Discounted Labs also sells a CPK Total Plus Isoenzymes Test which includes  3 main categories such as CPK 1, CPK 2, and CPK 3. Each of these categories is associated with specific organs and body parts. In other words, you'll find more of a particular CPK isoenzyme in certain organs and less of it in the rest of the body.

If CPK 1 or CK-BB ( found in brain and lungs) is elevated, it is likely to be:

  • Stroke
  • Brain cancer
  • Brain injury
  • Seizures or heart attack
  • Pulmonary infarction

If CPK 2 or CK-MB (found in the heart) levels are high, it may be a sign of:

  • Heart attack
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • The side effect of an electric injury
  • Open heart intervention
  • Myocarditis as a side effect of a virus contamination

Other problems that can cause a higher CPK tissue result are myocarditis (inflammation), injury, surgery, and defibrillation.

In case of a heart attack, usually,  values will return to normal levels within 48 hours if there is no additional muscle damage.

Finally, if the CPK 3 or CK-MM (found in skeletal muscle) concentration is above normal, it may be a sign of:

  • General muscle problems, such as muscle breakdown, inflammation, medical tests, or even very strenuous exercise.
  • Recent seizures or surgeries
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Muscle damage as a side effect of being immobile for long -rhabdomyolysis
  • Myositis- inflammation of the skeletal muscle

How can You Lower the Creatine Kinase Levels?

As elevated creatine kinase may be an indication of a tissue injury or a sign of a disease, the first thing to be considered is to reach out to a doctor and get advice. You should also consider stopping the exhausting workout if so.

Even though the sport is what keeps our muscle and tonus in shape, it should be performed under the limits of your own body. Some studies suggest that certain categories of foods such as carbs, antioxidants, and protein can attenuate muscle damage.

Other studies suggest that sports massage can decrease CK levels if done 2 hours after an exhausting exercise session.

You should also take into consideration your weight. People diagnosed with obesity usually have high CPK levels. In this case,  losing weight would be a good start.

There is no treatment to bring down CPK beyond corticoid steroids. If CPK gets really high, doctors try to switch you to another medication if it is caused by statins or other medications, but it is very difficult for some patients to switch since they may have no other options.

Some doctors prescribe corticoid steroids to reduce whatever the inflammation may be, but this is not a cure. Corticoid steroids can lower bone density and testosterone, cause water retention and fat gain, and have been linked with joint bone death (necrosis), so they are not a good option to stay on for the long term.

If you are taking statins with or without fibrates, high CPK may indicate muscle-related problems that these drugs can cause in some people. Statins (with or without fibrates) can cause rhabdomyolysis which can cause destruction of muscle tissue in a few patients and increase CPK. Some patients have anecdotally reported improvements of this problem by taking Coenzyme Q-10 (statins lower it) and a good antioxidant formula.

What Low CPK Levels indicate?

Although most focus on higher CPK blood test results, low CPK levels can also be a sign of a health problem.

In alcohol-induced liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disease, Cushing's disease, and acute viral hepatitis, creatinine phosphokinase levels may be lower than normal.

Also, physical inactivity which often leads to muscle atrophy is considered a cause of creatine kinase levels.  Elders are most commonly affected by this.

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can dramatically reduce the CPK levels because of the inflammation produced in the organism.

Women that test for CPK during their pregnancy should know that during the second trimester of pregnancy the CPK levels are reduced, this being just a temporary phase.

However, the CPK blood test is usually performed to detect higher levels to locate muscle damage. A lower than normal level is rare and, if found, is not a definitive indication of a problem.

It may be useful because it will encourage more accurate testing to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of health.

How can you Increase the Creatine Kinase Levels?

People with lower than normal CPK levels are more prone to fainting. This is a consequence of your heart and muscles not functioning to their best. In a recent study with a  sample of more than 350 persons with low CPK, 70% out of them were likely to faint.

Low creatine kinase levels may eventually lead to a higher risk of death. Creatine kinase is above all a measure of muscle mass. Here it must be considered that muscles are what sustain our skeletons, and if you take a look inside, our heart is a muscle as well, one that must be kept safe and trained.

To increase the creatine kinase, first, you need to know what causes it to be lower, to find the cause. A lifestyle change will always be welcomed and can improve the CPK levels and your wellbeing as a whole.

For this, you can start exercising more often, but moderately in terms of intensity. Make sure at the same time that the body has enough reserves of proteins to build muscle and help the recovery process.

When Should you Perform the Test?

Whenever the CPK levels are increased, it means that muscle tissue, heart, or brain has been damaged in a way.

You can start to think if you can associate this with a recent injury or muscle fracture. Also if symptoms like chest pain, fainting or general weakness start to appear, you may need to take the test. All these may be a sign of a heart attack.

CPK is an enzyme, a protein that helps convert creatine to phosphate that is burned for energy. In case of an injury, the CPK will be released into the bloodstream.

The treatment for the possible disorders is very different depending on the event the patient went through.

The CPK treatment depends on what caused it to grow. As a high CPK level found can indicate serious, sometimes fatal problems, it is highly recommended to perform the test. In case of injuries or symptoms associated with the diseases listed above, ask the help of your doctor.

Order Your CPK Test Now

The CPK test is a valuable and helpful instrument in diagnosing severe disorders that we can encounter. Do not hesitate nor delay in taking control of your health today. For more information, options to test CPK and many others go to DiscountedLabs.com and select the closest location to your home or office through an easy process.



  1. Go to the "Find a Location" page to find the closest lab location. No need to make an appointment since walk-ins are welcomed. Once you have identified your closest location, go to step 2.

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  3. If you have a discount coupon code, add it to your cart.

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  7. Print lab request form that you downloaded.

  8. Take that form to the closest location. Get your blood drawn.

  9. You will receive an email when the results are ready for you to download.

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