What Are CPK Muscle Enzymes?

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CPK muscle enzymes are predominantly located in the your heart muscle and skeletal muscles. Otherwise known as creatine phosphokinase, the levels of CPK enzymes can reveal a variety of medical conditions. To check your CPK levels, your doctor will order a test.

Facts

  • When one of your muscles is damaged, CPK enzymes leak into your bloodstream. Testing to determine CPK levels is as simple as a blood test.

Significance

  • High levels of CPK enzymes indicate that your muscles or heart has been exposed to injury or stress. Your doctor will want to determine the exact form of CPK that is elevated, in order to diagnose which tissue is damaged.

Abnormal Results

  • CPK enzymes can show a heart attack, determine the extent of muscle damage, reveal whether you are a carrier of muscular dystrophy, evaluate potential causes of chest pains and provide early detection of certain conditions (such as dermatomyositis, which is characterized by skin inflammation and rash).

Other Conditions

  • Abnormal results can also indicate death of lung tissue, convulsions, rhabdomyolysis (a degeneration of muscle fibers) or brain injuries/stroke.

Factors That Affect CPK Levels

  • Other factors that can affect CPK enzyme levels include recent surgeries, extensive exercise, intramuscular injections and cardiac catheterization.

References

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