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What do CPK test levels indicate?

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Quick Answer

Creatine phosphokinase test levels indicate the level of different forms of creatine phosphokinase in the blood, according to MedlinePlus. Creatine phosphokinase, or CPK, is an enzyme that found in the brain, heart and skeletal muscle, and changes in CPK levels can help in diagnosing various medical conditions, such as heart injuries, brain injuries, brain cancer, recent seizures and muscular dystrophy.

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Full Answer

Creatine kinase is measured in three differing forms, as Healthgrades explains. CK-MM, CK-BB and CK-MB are found in different areas of the body, and each indicates different medical issues. For instance, CK-MM is found in the heart and skeletal muscles. CK-MB is found mainly in the heart, and CK-BB is found mainly in the brain. Elevated CK-MB levels occur when a person experiences a heart attack and the heart muscle cells perish. When this occurs, a test known as troponin helps medical professionals confirm that a heart attack is occurring.

Some symptoms that can occur along with an elevated CPK level in relation to a heart attack include rapid heart rate, dizziness, difficulty breathing and chest pain, according to Healthgrades. However, depending on what system of the body is affected, other symptoms such as vision changes, muscles aches, paralysis and confusion can also occur.

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