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C-Peptide

How It Feels

The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

Risks

There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Results

A C-peptide test measures the level of this peptide in the body.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

The level of C-peptide in the blood must be read with the results of a blood glucose test. Both these tests will be done at the same time. A test to measure insulin level also may be done.

C-peptide 1
Fasting:

0.51–2.72 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or 0.17–0.90 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)

High values

  • High levels of both C-peptide and blood glucose are found in people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance (such as from Cushing's syndrome).
  • A high level of C-peptide with a low blood glucose level may mean that an insulin-producing tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma) is present or that the use of certain medicines such as sulfonylureas (for example, glyburide) is causing the high level.
  • If C-peptide levels are high after an insulinoma is taken out, it may mean that the tumor has returned or that the tumor has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).

Low values

  • Low levels of both C-peptide and blood glucose are found in liver disease, a severe infection, Addison's disease, or insulin therapy.
  • A low level of C-peptide with a high blood glucose level is found in people with type 1 diabetes.
  • Complete removal of the pancreas (pancreatectomy) causes a C-peptide level so low it can't be measured. The blood glucose level will be high, and insulin will be needed in order for the person to survive.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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