C-peptide is literally translated from English as a connecting peptide. It is an indicator of the secretion of intrinsic or endogenous insulin, and shows the functionality of the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce proinsulin.
Proinsulin is necessary for the full functioning of a person, because it promotes the production of insulin. The synthesis of this hormone is a multistep process that occurs at the cellular level of the pancreas.
Its final stage involves the separation of biological inactive proinsulin into two elements – C-peptide and insulin.
It is necessary to understand when a C-peptide analysis is recommended, what hormone indicators are normal? And also find out why the hormone is low or high?
Hormone analysis: features
The importance of the hormone in the human body is difficult to underestimate. It is believed that it is the central substance that takes an active part in carbohydrate and energy metabolism.
Nevertheless, the analysis for this hormone is rarely recommended in medical practice, and this circumstance is based on many reasons. First, when insulin is produced, the hormone first enters the liver, where it is slightly absorbed by the internal organ.
And only after such a chain does it enter the human circulatory system, as a result of which it cannot fully reflect its specific level of synthesis by the pancreas. Secondly, insulin is the body’s “response” to the consumption of glucose-containing foods, so it can rise after meals.
Based on this information, we can say that the C-peptide indicators are the most reliable and correct. Since it does not pass through the liver, it has nothing to do with the blood sugar that comes with food.
There are a number of situations when it is necessary to analyze this indicator:
- To determine if there are metastases after surgical removal of a pancreatic tumor.
- Determination of the level of beta-cell activity in order to select an adequate therapy, based on the results of the study.
- To determine the mediated insulin level against the background of inactivating antibodies, which change the values downward. It is also recommended for severe liver dysfunction.
The level of C-peptide is of no small importance, therefore, in the vast majority of cases, it is recommended for the following pathologies:
- With type 1 diabetes mellitus, when the protein is below normal.
- With type 2 diabetes mellitus, when the indicators are above normal.
- Gestational diabetes in women while carrying a child. In this option, the doctor is trying to clarify the likely risk for the fetal development of the baby.
- The patient’s condition after intervention in the pancreas.
- Diseases of an autoimmune nature that impair the functionality of the pancreas.
- Pituitary gland lesions are benign.
- Infertility, polycystic ovary disease.
The C-peptide level allows to determine the likely factors of hypoglycemia. The hormone will be high if the patient is taking blood sugar pills that are synthetic.
The level of the hormone can be reduced after drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages, as well as against the background of the constant use of insulin-containing drugs in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
Analysis results: norm and deviation
The normal indicator does not depend on the sex of the patient, it is not influenced in any way by the age group, and varies from 0.9 to 7.1 ng / ml. As for small patients, they will have their own C-peptide rate, and in each case, it is different.
On an empty stomach, the level of C-peptide will be different, and its norm is from 0.78 to 1.89 ng / ml. In a number of situations, the C-peptide is elevated, but this condition should not cause concern if other studies have not revealed the presence of pathologies in the patient’s body.
Sometimes it happens that the hormone on an empty stomach does not show an increased result. This suggests that a normal blood count is not able to show the type of disease in the patient. In this option, testing is recommended to identify the individual rate in this particular case.
The doctor may recommend the following:
- Glucose tolerance analysis.
- Glucagon injections (contraindicated in patients with arterial hypertension).
To obtain the most accurate and reliable data, it is necessary to undergo two studies, which will provide a complete clinical picture.
High C-peptide may indicate the following conditions:
- Obesity at any stage.
- Diabetes mellitus type 2.
- Pancreatic head cancer.
- Hypertrophic state of cells of the islets of Langerhans.
C-peptide is lowered for the following reasons: synthetic insulin is injected, diabetes mellitus of any type, severe stress, surgical intervention in the pancreas.
C-peptides in diabetes mellitus are significantly reduced. And, in order to increase the production of this hormone, it is recommended to administer insulin into the patient’s body.
As a rule, these manipulations are recommended only after several differentiated analyzes and an accurate diagnosis.
Hormone for diabetes
If the patient has type 1 disease, then the tissues of the pancreas are destroyed, and this pathology is autoimmune. Due to the destruction of cells, the concentration of insulin in the patient’s body also decreases, while the C-peptide shows a low indicator.
No one is immune from this pathology, it can affect men and women, children. Nevertheless, based on medical statistics, we can say that the highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in people under 30.
In addition, this form of pathology can develop in a child, while he will have perfect health. In this variant, analyzes to determine the level of the hormone C-peptide allow the implementation of the correct primary diagnostic measures and the initiation of appropriate treatment.
Due to the peculiarities of “childhood” diabetes mellitus, it is necessary to diagnose pathology in time by means of the C-peptide test in order to exclude possible complications in the future.
The second type of disease is accompanied by a disorder in the production and release of insulin, as a result of which the sensitivity of peripheral soft tissues to this hormone becomes below normal. As a rule, against the background of this, the C-peptide can be high, but if we count in relation to the concentration of glucose in the body, then it is still low.
Against the background of the detection of pathology, reliable analysis results allow the following measures to be taken:
- Establish the type of diabetes.
- Choose the types of hypoglycemic drugs, determine their dosage and frequency of use.
- Diagnose hypoglycemia.
- Determine the patient’s insulin resistance.
- Assess insulin synthesis.
Along with C-peptide, insulin analysis can supplement the clinical picture in order to fully adjust the required therapy regimen. The insulin rate does not depend on the sex of the patient, but depends on the age.
Unfortunately, despite the progress of medicine, the creation of a large number of medications, diabetes mellitus cannot be completely cured. In addition, the mechanisms that provoke this condition in the human body are still unknown to the end.
However, a negative correlation was found between being overweight and diabetes. Doctors note that those people who lead an active lifestyle, go in for sports, the C-peptide hormone is much lower.
Summarizing all the information, we can say that the C-peptide test allows you to obtain reliable results, prescribe adequate therapy, and also monitor the development of various pathologies of the pancreas.