The creatine kinase (CK) total test measures the levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase in the blood. CK is found in various tissues in the body, including skeletal muscle, heart muscle, and brain tissue. The test is used to assess muscle damage and can be helpful in diagnosing and monitoring conditions that cause muscle injury, such as heart attacks, muscular dystrophy, and rhabdomyolysis (a breakdown of muscle tissue). Some potential benefits of getting a CK total test include:
Diagnosing muscle damage: If you have symptoms of muscle damage, such as muscle pain, weakness, or cramping, a CK total test can help your healthcare provider determine if muscle injury is present.
Monitoring muscle disease: If you have a muscle disease, such as muscular dystrophy or myositis, your healthcare provider may use the CK total test to monitor the progression of the disease and assess the effectiveness of treatment.
Evaluating heart attack: CK levels may be elevated in the blood after a heart attack, and the CK total test can be used to help diagnose and monitor heart attacks.
Assessing medication toxicity: Some medications, such as statins used to lower cholesterol, can cause muscle damage as a side effect. If you are taking such medications, your healthcare provider may order a CK total test to monitor for toxicity.
Evaluating exercise-induced muscle damage: Athletes and others who engage in strenuous exercise may experience muscle damage. The CK total test can help evaluate the extent of muscle damage and aid in developing an appropriate recovery plan.
It is important to note that the CK total test may not be specific to muscle injury, as elevated levels can also occur in other conditions, such as brain injury or hypothyroidism. Therefore, it is important to discuss your test results with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate course of action.